Last week was my first week with Achieve Atlanta, and my “gratitude cup” is already filled to the brim. It’s clear that our powerful vision, “Atlanta is a city where race and income no longer predict postsecondary success and upward mobility,” is evident in every aspect of Achieve Atlanta’s work.
I could not be more honored to join such a strong team. The highlight of my first week was attending my first Scholar Night event for Atlanta Public Schools (APS) seniors who have qualified for our scholarship. I witnessed first-hand our team’s commitment to excellence and service.
I loved experiencing the enthusiasm of our APS families and the incredible brilliance of our students and Achieve Atlanta Scholars. Moreover, I am thrilled to be collaborating with our College Access and College Success Partners, who are working hard to close the opportunity gap and ensure college graduation is attainable for all APS graduates.
As one of the first in my family to attend college, my first week brought back memories of how challenging the application process and enrollment period was for me. I was, unfortunately, on my own. But my heart sang a song of gratitude as I watched our older Scholars coach our incoming Scholars on what to expect, how and where to select their roommates and housing, and when critical financial aid deadlines occur. It’s clear that these students have an entire village supporting them as they prepare to attend college and earn a postsecondary credential.
Last Thursday morning, I also had the opportunity to attend the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 15th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast. There, I was able to meet and talk to so many dynamic women and civic leaders in the community. So many attendees shared with me that they had so much respect and admiration for Achieve Atlanta—calling it a “real game changer.”
My oldest son, who will graduate from Hampton University on May 14th, sent me a text on Thursday morning saying, “Finished undergrad,” with a celebration emoji. His subsequent text said, “Impossible without you.” As I reflect on my first week as President/Executive Director of Achieve Atlanta, I cannot help but think about the deserving Achieve Atlanta Scholars who will say the same about my incredible new team.