“Don’t be hanging with no corner boys,” she’d say.
DeAndre could still hear the growl of his grandmother’s voice while he waited backstage for his name to be called.
There would be no one in his family to hear his name called today; no one to see him stride across the stage in the graduation gown, no one to run a finger on the raised text of the valedictorian medal. His grandma passed away last October. His dad was still in Joliet, and his mother—well, who knew where she was. But somehow, he felt his grandma with him.
He would be the first member of his family to go to college, he realized as he walked tall across the stage to collect his diploma. And, as he tossed the cap into the air after the ceremony, he made a wish, a promise, a vow:
He would not be the last.
As college grows ever more out of reach for working families, it has long been inaccessible for those hoping to raise themselves from poverty. Scholarships like The Pittsburgh Promise aim to change that by funding the college education of urban Pittsburgh youth. Even though such scholarships don’t make it easy, they make it a little bit more possible.