Fun time of year: MATCH high school alumni have college graduations. (And, from our first graduating class, our first law school grad: Go Stesha!). On Friday I attended Travis's graduation, from Boston University. Tall guy on the right. (6'4" in 9th grade, if I recall). Next stop: work for Fidelity Investments.
Travis said it was okay to write a little about him. Four observations.
1. This was a favorite graduation, because whew, it was a lonnnggg road for Travis to get through MATCH. He persisted, but often barely.
2. Jim Cash is a big name professor at Harvard Business School. He's on the board of GE and used to be on Microsoft's board. Mentors a ton of people, particularly black men; and in return, many of them go on to help others.
One of Cash's mentees made a big difference in Travis's life: Jamie. (You can see him behind Travis's head, chatting with me).
Jamie met Travis in 2001, when Travis was repeating 9th grade, and has kept up the encouragement for 10 years. Jamie's a bigtime CEO now in his own right, but flew in with his wife for graduation. Lots of "mentorship" efforts don't "take"; but this one blossomed and made a difference.
I bet one day Travis pays it forward.
3. Another key factor is his development was this nonprofit: MetroLacrosse. It really gave Travis a positive identity as a teen, toting around that lax stick and all the gear. Their motto: teaching kids to stick to their goals.
MetroLacrosse also was a very positive influence on Travis's pal, Rondel, who was also at the graduation. Bob, you're not gonna believe the photo, but I assure you, no Photoshop. (Bob and I saw Rondel a year ago; he's lost 60 pounds since then, and with the mohawk he's now close to 6'6"; Rondel says he does the treadmill for a full hour TWICE per day).
4. I asked Travis a few questions and am sharing his replies with permission:
a. Name a couple teachers who influenced you. Could be elementary, middle, high, college. How and why?
Ms. Little, at MATCH. She was very caring and put a lot of time in making sure we succeeded in class (AP English) and took time to make sure everything was alright outside of class. Mr. Dupuis was also similar and was very helpful when it came to AP Calc.
As for college, my professor by the name of Ronald Green was the one who pushed me to transfer from Mount Ida College and go to BU instead. He saw something in me that I didn't see and made me seek out more for myself.
b. What could MATCH do so there were more success stories like yours?
For me my issue was developing proper study habits and ability to teach myself. This paired along with understanding the importance of homework and wanting to do homework every night. I don't know how to go about teaching these skills and wants. But these were some of the things I struggled with.
c. What did we do well that we should be sure to continue?
Introducing kids to college level classes and AP classes as a high school student helped me a lot once I got to college.