On November 15th we welcomed Scholars, alumni, families, board members, mentors and donors to celebrate and welcome our eight new Albany Scholars.
Our guests gathered at the historic Woman's Club in Albany for dinner and a short program where they heard from: Board member, Linda London; Albany High School alum and Siena College graduate, Paul Collins-Hackett. Paul spoke about the challenges of growing up in a single-parent household, and the important role that Sponsor-A-Scholar played in helping to shape his future. He now works in social services, and serves on the boards of two local non-profits which he helped to found: PULSE global and TruHeart. His unceasing effort to give back to the local community began with his experience in Sponsor-A-Scholar.
We also heard from Albany High School alum and SUNY Potsdam graduate, Elijah Foulks. Elijah has two bachelor's degrees in English and Communications, and a masters' degree in Communications. He is now an adjunct professor at Maria College. Elijah spoke about the importance of building relationships. He stressed to our students that the most important aspect of the program wasn't the assistance with the paperwork--it was the relationships he formed. Through Sponsor-A-Scholar, he visited colleges and learned how to work with a mentor. Elijah shared that "none of us is an island--we succeed when we ask for help and work together." His message about networks of support is at the heart of our program. The mentors, teachers and families help our Scholars and alumni succeed and achieve their dreams.
We also welcomed special guest speaker, Tom Nesbitt, Director of Admissions at SUNY Potsdam. Tom reiterated the importance of taking advantage of all of the opportunities offered in order to succeed.
After the speakers, each current Scholar shared his or her hopes for the future. They all have exciting goals that range from careers in nursing, sports medicine, engineering, teaching, to occupational therapy and psychology. It was inspiring to hear individual students share their dreams with the crowd, as crowd cheered them on. We can't wait for what's next.