The past year has truly put our organization and the services we provide to the test. Our Scholars are underrepresented in all postsecondary pathways. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the barriers our Scholars face in their pursuit of higher education. The pandemic has caused our Scholars to lose jobs that helped their families stay afloat. It has disrupted their educational environments. For some, the pandemic has eliminated the only stable housing our Scholars have access to for 10 months of the year. Though our team mobilized emergency support and increased engagement services, we braced ourselves for a drop in enrollment and persistence that many institutions have seen at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. With 97% of our first-year Scholars returning for the second year, we continue to be amazed by the determination and resilience our Scholars show!
Scholars list their families as their number one motivation for persisting through higher education. With 90% of our Scholars being the first in their families to pursue higher education or graduate from high school, Scholars want to set an example for their younger siblings. With this determination and a little support from our staff, our Scholars are destined to reach every goal they set for themselves.
“Powered by Why” is the theme of our annual report. In this tumultuous year, it has been more important than ever to remember why we do what we do. When we center our Scholars in each decision we make, we can never fail to achieve the mission Merle and Rev. Al set out to accomplish all those years ago. Regardless of whether the obstacle exists in or out of the classroom, we ensure our Scholars are given the support needed to succeed.
We will be sending out our annual report later this month. We look forward to showing you all our Scholars have accomplished over the year!