Elizabeth, UC Berkeley & University of Wisconsin Medical

I always knew I wanted to go to college. Growing up in a small town, I was fortunate enough to see how attaining a higher education could increase the number of opportunities available to me and my family. But, as a high school student, I didn’t realize how small my understanding of my surroundings was until Thrive Scholars and the Londons.

Thrive Scholars opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. I went to my first networking event in high school with the Londons, where I met a number of men and women who understood the importance of education and supported Thrive Scholars because of this. When college applications came around, Mr. Winston helped me prep for my Harvard interview and took me and other Scholars on a college tour of UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Davis. And when the majority of my high school class in Thrive Scholars decided to attend UC Berkeley, the Londons and Mr. Winston checked on us regularly and were instrumental in our transition. Thrive Scholars helped set the ground work needed for me to be successful.

I, like most people, still face barriers. There is so much that needs to be done for those in need. Because of this, I feel my greatest accomplishment has yet to come. But if I had to encourage a current Scholar, I would remind them that each day is a new day and a chance for them to prepare and work hard for the life they want for themselves tomorrow. I would also tell them not to let the thoughts, judgments, and words of others dictate what they see themselves accomplishing. Your decisions are yours as well as your actions. Own them.