Dreams and Grants

Introducing Malcolm, College Student to Be

MalcolmMediumI’m Malcolm. I’m a 15-year-old sophomore in high school. I recently began visiting colleges and college is something that I look forward to greatly. I am participating in this blog and sharing my journey as I visit and apply to colleges to help other people aid teenagers in their search for college success.

I live in Berea, Kentucky. I am a biracial African American/Caucasian teenager. In rural Kentucky, we have very little people of color, and a very large amount of poverty. This mixture creates an unsafe city for schoolchildren, and many children from 6th-12th grades are involved in underage drinking, smoking, or drug use. One of the biggest problems in Kentucky is that of Methamphetamine, and Prescription Drugs. As you know, where there are drugs, there are problems. Fights, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Theft, and many other things endanger the bright young ones of our city.

I believe that the only things that saved me from the same fate as some of my peers were my parents. My mother, Dreama, is from rural Kentucky, and grew up with her parents. She saw many in her community lost to prescription drugs and meth, and made sure to protect me from that. My father, Hasan Davis, grew up completely differently than my mother. He was born in Missouri, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia after his parents were divorced. He lived with his Mother, Stepfather, two sisters, and a brother. At times they were homeless, such as after their house burned down on Christmas. He lost friends and family to violence, drugs, and crime. He vowed to make my life better than his, and has protected me from this.

I believe that we can make the rural areas safer for children, and families. In Kentucky, the High School Graduation Rate for all students was 87% and the rate for African Americans was 80%. Regardless of race, simply not enough students are graduating high school and going to college. This is my Inspiration, to change this, and allow more students to see their potential, and see their futures.

A Change in Perspective: From College Access Professional to Parent

I’ve spent much of my work life thinking about college access and success, designing programs that provide parents and students opportunities to prepare for college, explore college options and make informed choices.  As Malcolm reaches the end of his sophomore year in high school, I find myself in a different place. I’m now the parent of a student who needs to be thinking about college, preparing for college and selecting a college.

My Dad always said that “book learning will only get you so far in life.” Once again I recognize that he was right.  All my reading and research in the field of college access hasn’t prepared me for this journey with Malcolm.

As we return from his first college visit, I realize that there is a lot of real-life learning in store for us.  I’ve asked Malcolm to join me in chronicling this journey via this blog.  OK, I didn’t really “ask” him, but let’s say that he’s agreed to participate.

Over the next months and even years, we will use this blog to share our experiences as Malcolm thinks about and plans for college.  We may be joined at times by our other family members who will be with us on this journey.

The college planning experience is unique for each family, Malcolm and I hope that our insights and personal journey will be helpful.