As we enter spring, colleges and universities have begun sending out their admissions decisions—which makes for a very exciting time here at College Possible. Many of our seniors have received multiple acceptances and are now making their decisions on where they will be next year. Jamilla, a senior at West Philadelphia High School, has five acceptances under her belt, and although the choices are tough, she’s eyeing her top pick, Cabrini University.
Jamilla’s story is one of great adversity. Early in middle school, Jamilla was expelled because of behavioral issues that stemmed from a death in her family. “After my uncle passed away—we were really close—I was so angry. It felt like he left me. It was hard for me to be in school. He was the person I would always talk to about my day so it was tough transitioning to him being the person who passed away.” It was clear how much she struggled through this time in her life, yet she made sure to keep her academics in focus during high school. Jamilla is now excited to get the chance to move to a new place and begin her track towards becoming a Forensic Pathologist. This is when Jamilla’s smile gleamed throughout the room and Senior Coach, Ben, smiled back to mention just how hard she’s been working this year. Her struggles earlier in her academic career would’ve held back any students, but now she’s one of the highest achieving students in West Philadelphia’s College Possible cohort.
Like our juniors who have seen improvements in their classes from their time in College Possible, Jamilla has had a similar experience. She felt her biggest weakness with college applications was writing the personal essays. Through the help of College Possible, however, she says she’s gained a lot of confidence and has taken what she’s learned to other classes. “Now when I write papers, I think about how Ben has helped me. I actually used a lot of his techniques for my senior project paper.”
Ben splits his coaching efforts between West Philadelphia High School and Penn Wood High School. A student in Ben’s senior cohort at Penn Wood, Kenny, recently accepted a full athletic scholarship with the Air Force Academy to play football. As exciting as this news was for Kenny and his family, there was a time when an injury put football on an indefinite hold. In his freshman year, Kenny’s injury caused his parents to step in and prohibit Kenny from playing. During his sophomore year, he stuck to playing soccer, but by the time he was a junior he was allowed to play football again.
Regardless, Kenny’s academics were sure to score him acceptances from a multitude of universities. Currently, Kenny has a 3.86 GPA and he credits his exceptional grades to his upbringing as an immigrant from Sierra Leone. “Coming over from Africa to the US, you have no room for error. We come here for one reason: education.” Kenny’s story of hard work and resilience shows just how far he will go in his professional pursuits of becoming a surgeon.
Kenny and Jamilla’s stories show the outstanding dedication our students have for staying focused on carving a path to success. As only a few months are left in the school year before our seniors graduate, we can’t wait to see them make the leap into the next stage of their life as they continue pointing their eyes towards a promising future.