Education Policy & Practice

Archive for December 4th, 2009

In an earlier post, “Finding the Road to College,” I urge those who read this blog to speak up about college, to talk to our young people and plant the seed of higher education attainment. Well, this evening, I had the opportunity to practice what I preach.

I was in the checkout line at a local grocery store. We were moving slowly, which afforded me the opportunity to overhear two African-American young ladies chattering away.  They both appeared to be young teenagers – 13 or 14 maybe.

One said to the other, “I said stop f*@$%ing touching me.”  My ears perked and my mind started racing.  That young lady continued, “Look, I’ve had a bad day!”  I seized the opportunity.

Me: “Why did you have a bad day?”
Young Lady1: “Because something bad happened right across the street from my school today.”
Me: “I’m really sorry to hear that.”

Both girls are quiet and stare at me.

Me: “What grade are you in?”
Young Lady1: “8th grade.”
Me: “What college are you going to attend?”
Young Lady1: [pause] … “I don’t know.”
Me: “Well, what would you like to study in college?”
Young Lady1: [smiling]  … “Acting”
Me: “That’s great.  So over the next four years you’ll do well in high school and apply to a great college with a great acting program.”

The young lady nodded affirmatively and smiled.

By that time, I had been rung up and I was paying for my items.  I turned and smiled at the two young ladies and said, “Have a good evening, ladies.”  They both said thank you.  Then “Young Lady1” replied, “You have a good evening, too.”

What a great memory.  I pray that my chance meeting with two young minds will be a part of a set of experiences that lead them in the direction of higher education and plant in their minds the seed that yes, they are college material.  I don’t know anything about those girls – but that does not matter.  They ARE college material.

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Education Policy & Practice

December 2009
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