By Rashid Ferrod Davis
Twenty-three years ago this May, I graduated from Morehouse College as part of the largest class in the college’s history through 1992.
Features in national media outlets told the stories of several young leaders from the Class of 1992, including why they had chosen Morehouse over such schools as Cornell and Stanford, the commitment to service that Morehouse had instilled in them, and their plans for making the most of themselves and doing their best for their communities.
On Commencement Day this year, Morehouse’s President acknowledged my work with P-TECH, and what we and our partners are doing to help level the playing field for a new generation of young leaders.
Today, our school celebrates its first graduating class – six extraordinary young people who, through talent and tenacity, have finished the six-year P-TECH program in just four years, and beaten the odds. After accepting the P-TECH challenge of rigorous academics, extended school days, summer sessions, workplace learning, mentoring and internships, each of these graduates has earned either a high-paying job with IBM, or acceptance to a four-year college or university. Four of the six are the first in their families to graduate college. Each of them personifies what it means to redefine oneself based on one’s highest expectations.
P-TECH is redefining possibilities for 17 and 18-year olds so that by their mid-20s their lives have different trajectories than those of their peers from similar socio-economic backgrounds and previous generations. The success of these six students shows that achievement gaps can be closed when young people have access to equitable opportunities and resources. We look forward to more of the types of public-private partnerships that are reinventing high schools as engines for success.