With the support of CIS, our students stay in school, graduate and go on to bright futures. They all have a story about their journey to who they are today. Alumnus Cyril shares his.
Throughout my time in school I was an exceptional student. I was on honor roll regularly, my test scores were impressive, and I participated heavily in extra-curricular activities. Even with all my intelligence and ambition, I was still unaware of how the college application process worked, and I lacked having someone close who knew much about it either (none of my immediate family members had graduated from college by that point, and only one actually had any college experience). I now know that I was not exactly well prepared for life after high school, and that’s where Communities In Schools of High Point came in. My 11th grade year I was introduced to Tamekia Stevens who was, and still is, the CIS site coordinator at my former high school, T. Wingate Andrews. In those next two years, I participated in service projects, went to college and career fairs, co-chaired a male mentorship group, sat on a discussion panel with BET Personality Jeff Johnson, and received tremendous help with my college application process. I was admitted into Howard University, the college of my choice, and received a full scholarship. Without the help of Communities In Schools, I do not think that any of this would have been possible.
After graduating from high school in 2010, I went away to Howard University for three semesters, and then, due to some unfortunate circumstances, I transferred to a school in my hometown. Since returning in January 2012, I have mentored more than 50 young men in the CIS program. In 2013, I was asked by local CIS executive director, Cerise Collins, to work with at-risk young men with behavioral issues on contract, for 15 weeks. After that 15-week period, I was invited to continue working with these students and work with them even up until this present date. Every single one of them has made considerable growth in their academics, attendance and behavior. Many of them are honor roll students, some of them have gotten involved in sports and other activities, and most have been recognized by teachers, administration and family members for their significant improvement. I have also had the pleasure to volunteer my time as a speaker for our local United Way agency’s fundraising campaign on behalf of CIS every year since 2012. Over this period of time, I have spoken at more than 30 campaign rallies throughout the greater High Point area in which my testimony was heard by crowds of people ranging from just a few to as many as a few hundred listeners.
To struggling students, I say: “Where you are currently may seem unfavorable, but that’s alright. No one is perfect, and it is very true that we all make mistakes in life, however, those mistakes can be beneficial if we allow ourselves the chance to grow from them. Please don’t let your present circumstances dictate what your future holds; your dreams should do that. Every person on earth has the potential to be uniquely awesome, but if we aren’t giving ourselves the best chance to do so, then we’ll never find out just how awesome we truly are. My plea for you to do better is not for the benefit of anyone else but you; I wish to inspire you to make a decision TODAY to be great – choose to be all that you can be!”