Tell us the story about how you came to Reach for Excellence.
My mother was looking for an enrichment program to ensure I was getting the best instruction year-round while keeping me ahead of my public school’s curriculum.
What memories from Reach for Excellence stand out to you?
The majority of the schools I attended were primarily black. RFE was my first time having classmates from vastly different cultures. I remember we had a culture fair in which students set up displays representing the different countries they (or their parents) were from, and I remember the pride each student had in sharing their culture and experiences.
What aspect of Reach for Excellence was the most challenging for you?
Staying focused on your education during times that are typically viewed as leisure was a challenge. I was not a student that wanted to spend my Saturdays and summers going to “school.” However, I think Reach strikes the perfect balance of instruction and recreation. There’s also a very valuable learning experience there: If you handle the things you must first (classes, homework, etc.), you can do the things you want (sports, board games, movies) later.
What would you like current Reach for Excellence students to know?
At the moment, it may look like your friends are enjoying their Saturdays and their summers, while you have to go to “class.” In the long run, it’s a short investment for a lifetime return. The memories you make along the way will be priceless.
Tell us about your journey after Reach for Excellence.
After Reach, I went to the magnet program at Southwest DeKalb High School. After high school, I graduated with my degree in Marketing from the University of Georgia. I spent the next 5 years working in Consulting and Project Management. This Fall, I’ll be enrolling in Emory University’s full-time MBA program.
What did you learn in Reach for Excellence that has stayed with you?
Teamwork is an important part of school and life. Learning to work within diverse teams will make you the best student and the best version of yourself.
What is one thing about Reach for Excellence you hope will never change?
I hope the balance between formal classes (language arts, math, etc.) and recreational activities never changes. Personally, I think learning is more than reading and reciting facts and equations. I believe learning also includes thinking critically to work with others and build mutually beneficial relationships. I think Reach strikes the perfect balance of both. You leave the program stronger academically while deepening your bond with your classmates.
If you could speak to a Reach for Excellence supporter right now, what would you say?
A donation to Reach is one of the surest ways to reap a return on your investment. Mrs. Dessables has run an excellent program, and the results speak for themselves. The greatest indicator of Reach’s lasting impact on students is the alumni engagement. Whether it’s coming back as an intern, teacher, or to serve on the board, Reach alumni feel so strongly about the program, they come back to support in any way possible.