Throughout the 2018-19 academic year, College Possible Philadelphia is profiling four students thanks to a grant awarded by NRG Gives, a charitable-giving program sponsored by the NRG Retail Charitable Foundation. The grant awarded by NRG Gives will support more students in the greater Philadelphia area get to and persist through to college graduation.
As a senior at Parkway Center City Middle College, Hezekiah Grimmage is navigating his final year of studies in high school and takings courses at the Community College of Philadelphia. An aspiring architecture major, he is also interested in mathematics, electrical engineering and graphic design. Outside of the classroom, Hezekiah is a part of Parkway’s indoor and outdoor track team, volunteers with the Jewish Relief Agency packaging food for families in need, and is an active member of the Temple Bethel congregation, where he plays the drums.
What does it mean to be a first-generation college student?
My older sister is a junior at East Stroudsburg University and being the first individuals in our family to go to college means that we are improving our success for future generations. College gives me the chance to pursue a career doing something I like – it’s a great opportunity.
What colleges have you applied to and what attracted you to those schools?
So far, I’ve applied to Shippensburg University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cabrini University and Penn State University. I’m really interested in becoming an architect and I’m also looking into electrical engineering. When I was doing research, I was impressed with the schools and their architecture and engineering programs. They can set me up for success. I went on a campus visit to Cabrini and could see myself at that school.
Why do you want to become an architect?
Art is my passion. I love to draw and design things. I also love helping people. With architecture, I want to work one on one with people and help them design their homes.
How have your high school coaches supported your college journey?
Without College Possible and my coaches, I don’t think I would have started applying to college. Coming to sessions has made a huge difference. Last year, I learned a lot about improving my SAT score from Ms. Dominique (Hezekiah’s junior coach). With the skills I’ve learned I’ve improved my test scores and have applied them to my classwork. I learned problem-solving skills that will help me in college. Ms. Keyana (Hezekiah’s senior coach) is always there for me and other students. Even a simple reminder about applying to the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or asking if I filled out a scholarship is super helpful. She is always motivating me and giving me tips. She believes in me even when I feel like I can’t do something and has taught me to never give up. They’ve made it easier to navigate college.
Do you have a specific goal that you would like to accomplish in college and what steps will you take to make it possible?
In my college essays I wrote about how when I get to college, I want to work as hard as possible. I want to work hard, study, prioritize, be responsible and use what I learned in College Possible. When I feel like I’m going to give up, I want to lean on my coach and my family to keep me going
By Ian Reitz