JDC’s School-To-College Program Gives Struggling High School Senior “Academic Fuel”

Savion Russel addresses the audience at the 2015 Gala.

Savion Russel addresses the audience at the 2015 Gala.

On September 24, Savion Russel, a senior in JDC’s School-To-College (STC) program addressed more than 400 guests at the JDC Annual Gala.

Russel has dyslexia and has always struggled in school. With the help of the STC program he now has a 3.11 GPA. Below is an excerpt from his speech:

“Struggling with a learning disability my whole life, I found ways to improve my learning and put myself in a position to be mainstreamed back in to regular classes. I have a 3.11 core grade point average – not bad for a kid with dyslexia.

As you all know, police violence against African American males in the United States is at an all-time high or at least is being brought up by the media more. The violence against men that look like me has given me something I like to call “academic fuel” to better myself academically. College is the key for a safer and better tomorrow and this is why I am doing everything in my power to put myself in a position to apply to various colleges.

During my high school years, the School-To-College program has been a great benefit for me with the college process and also my academics. The onsite tutors the program supplies us with have been vital in improving my overall grade point average. STC has been at Academy High School since my freshman year and every year the program gets better.

Because I will be a first-generation college attendee, I have felt a great deal of anxiety when it comes to the thought of college. With the help and outreach of STC, I’m on track to apply to my top picks of colleges: San Jose State and UCLA.

I feel fortunate to have great people and programs in my life that have led me in the right direction. Having both my mother and father has been a blessing, not too many kids that I know have both parents in their lives. I am thankful for the School-To-College program college counselor Alvaro Carvajal; and before him, Jessica Williams; my mentor from YMCA that stayed in touch with me even after the program ended; and countless others.

I have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child and I feel lucky to have STC as part of my village.”

Learn more about School-To-College  at www.sfbar.org/stc.

Learn more about supporting School-To-College and other amazing JDC programs: http://blog.sfbar.org/justice-diversity-built-by-you