A group of 30 recent graduates from Aurora high schools are participating in the Mile High United Way Pathways scholarship program at CCA and are hearing, firsthand, that they can excel in school and in life.
As part of a slate of “First Five Friday” speakers, Dr. Nate Easley, deputy director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation and president of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, visited CCA on Aug. 27 and coached the students to never accept anything less than their best.
“You are capable of doing anything you want to do,” he told them, but “you’ve got to have fire and passion or you’ll never make it through to get your degree.” Easley spoke of growing up in the Montbello neighborhood and the challenges that posed for him, and he advised the students to learn their history. “Talk to your parents, your grandparents, and others before it’s too late,” he said. “Anything is possible when you know who you are and where you come from.”
Bradley Jacobson, Coordinator of Scholarship Programming, explained why students will benefit from hearing from speakers such as Easley. “By exposing them to successful members of the Aurora and east metro communities, we are showing them that no obstacle is too tall, and that with the right attitude and perseverance, each and every one of them can be successful,” he said. The speakers come from diverse backgrounds, many similar to those of the students themselves.
Jacobson said the intent of the program is to reach down and pull students up. “Such a combination of financial and intensive personal support for students who often struggled in high school and are the first in their families to attend college is rare,” he explained. Each student has received a tuition, fee, and book scholarship to attend CCA and then Metropolitan State College of Denver. The program was made possible by the CCA Foundation and the Mile High United Way. “The program provides these students an unparalleled opportunity to fulfill their dream of acquiring a bachelor’s degree,” he said.
Future speakers will be Tracey Lovett, assistant vice president, and Mary Haynes, scholar relations coordinator, the Daniels Fund; Dr. Greg M. Anderson, Dean, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver; Wil Alston, Executive Director, Five Points Business District; and Rico Munn, J.D., Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education.