Earl Woods Scholar Darion Parker is attending Georgetown University and is about to enter his third year this fall, majoring in English. He is currently studying abroad in Ecuador for the summer and upon his return, he will be interning at Youth Services of America. We asked Darion to describe a major accomplishment or meaningful experience that he's had in college and how that experience will contribute to his future success. Take a look at his response:
Most recently, I was accepted into the Teach for America Rising Leaders Fellowship. This has been especially meaningful to me, as it has exposed me to an opportunity that allows me to explore a possible interest of mine. Though I never thought that becoming a teacher would be a possibility for me, I acknowledge the significance of teachers and, ultimately, of education. When I consider how many doors are opened to me each day on account of my academic accomplishments, it becomes apparent that the key to success is education, and the role of educators is extremely important.
While I am still very new to the program, I already feel like I have been enlightened to several issues that plague my community directly and my country as a whole. Though I knew that problems existed, I never thoroughly examined the crises that affect many people that look like me. Statistics are particularly alarming, and it is clear that people are needed to combat this issue: Recently, I found out that a black male high school drop-out has an 85 percent chance of being incarcerated. As a black male, and an older brother to two black males, this scares me. I am constantly trying to be a model to my younger siblings; however, I would be naïve to think that I am their only role model. Surely there are alluring elements that can deter them from achieving their full potential. And while I fight to keep them on the right track, the possibility is always present.
As I've mentioned, through this fellowship I have become more conscious of my surroundings, but also of myself. I am sure that I want my life's work to contribute to and enrich the lives of others. I am currently interested in starting a non-profit that serves youths from middle school to high school and will establish a curriculum that encompasses professional development, etiquette classes and SAT/ACT preparation. As incentive to complete the curriculum, I want to garner funds for the children to participate in extracurricular activities of their choice. For example, if a student proposes that he/she would like to take boxing lessons, my non-profit would provide the funds contingent upon their participation in the structured curriculum.
This idea was inspired by my own personal experience. In high school, I expressed an interest to take dance lessons to my mother. Initially, she was confused, but she never wanted to inhibit me from exploring my interest, and she paid for the lessons using savings she kept for me. That was only enough for one year, however. The following year, I expressed to my instructor that I was unable to pay, and she told me that I could come to classes provided that I maintained a certain GPA in school and carried the same work ethic into dance class.
Ultimately, being a part of this fellowship has reminded me of the importance of education in my life. This has prompted me to devote my career to assisting underrepresented youths in the process of getting in to college.