Katelyn* dreams of one day working in forensics. A junior at the Durham Performance Learning Center (PLC), a credit-recovery high school, Katelyn gets excited about field trips to nearby college and university campuses—she would be the first in her immediate family to attend.
“A good number of our kids [at PLC] would be the first to go to college,” says Zellua Sistrunk-Moore, Graduation Coach at the nontraditional high school. “Our kids have to either be enrolled, employed, or enlisted when they're due to graduate.”
On a recent trip to Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina, Katelyn got to tour the third-largest community college in the state and hear about its criminal justice programs. She was one of nine other juniors and seniors attending PLC who got to go on the trip.
“I've seen three of my friends die, and I want to do something after school so I could help solve why,” Katelyn says of her motivation to study something related to crime and forensics.
Katelyn has found an outlet at PLC for her desire to help others, especially in times of emergency and crisis, by earning her CPR and first-aid certification. Next semester, she's going to learn how to put out fires with a PLC teacher, she says. Once she graduates, Katelyn hopes to attend either North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University or Virginia State, and exposure to more college campuses keeps her motivated to work toward that goal.
The opportunity to walk a college or university campus can be a defining moment, especially for a would-be first-generation student. At Communities In Schools of Durham, we hope to send more of our high school students, at PLC and in the other high schools we serve, on more of these college visits—and the support of our community members helps us do just that. A gift of $50 can introduce a first-generation college student to a university campus.
Join us in #25DaysOfGiving and consider making an online donation to open new doors for Durham's youth.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the student.