Shaping My Future
Deward John has been a participant in Project HOME’s Teen Program at our Honickman Learning Center Comcast Technology Labs. He graduated as Salutatorian of his high school graduating class at Walter D. Palmer Learning Partners Leadership Preparatory Academy and will be attending Albright College in the fall, studying finance. He recently spoke at a July 24 celebration of graduates who were part of our College Access Program. Deward is one of 12 2012 graduates who went through our Teen Program and CAP who are college bound this fall.
I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the Cross Bridge Scholars program here, where we took a class with students from Episcopal Academy. In the class, we explored our cultural differences and developed friendships with students from different backgrounds. The class brought us new experiences and expanded our horizons. My favorite memory of the class was when I, along with the rest of the Cross Bridge Scholars, went to New York City. On the trip I was exposed to a world outside my Philadelphia neighborhood. It was a welcome departure from my daily routine and I was glad for the chance to leave Philadelphia for one day.
Through this opportunity and many others, the Teen Program shows us a new world, which leads us to focus on our future. As I moved through the Teen Program and entered each new school year, it always felt bittersweet because I knew that each new grade meant I was getting closer to this point where I would have to move on to college. The time I have spent in the Teen Program has been fun while it has also allowed me to grow as a student. Every moment here has been truly genuine and special for me from the time I started four years ago until now. My experience in the Teen Program has been a combination of involved classes, social events, and challenging moments. All of these experiences have helped me to better myself.
Another highlight of this year was the trip to visit colleges in Virginia. Amid the chaos of senior year, the trip gave me a chance to breathe and have a little fun while learning about prospective schools in Virginia. The trip was a privilege, and I was happy I met the requirements to attend. We developed a bond on that trip by spending all our time together on the van and eating every meal together. We had more than enough time to spend in the van where we listened to music and Ms. Tomika’s singing and we talked about college choices and how to succeed in college.
Project HOME has provided me with not just a safe place to go after school but also a place where I have been able to explore new things. At the same time, it has felt like a second home. The Teen Program is really like a family, and when you are here you are able to be yourself. I am grateful to have been given the chance to be a part of this incredible program, although I regret that there are not more programs like the Teen Program. High school was a better experience thanks to being in the Teen Program. I am thankful for the help and direction I received here with the college process. I leave with a better understanding of what to anticipate when I get to college. I was able to accomplish so much here.
Every moment here was spent taking steps toward being a better person and student. The people here at the Honickman Learning Center Comcast Technology Labs are people that I know I can depend on. Even though I will be away at college, I feel comforted knowing that I have a network of supporters here wishing the best for me that I can call on, if needed. As I prepare to walk away, I realize the responsibility I have to shape my future.