Jeritzel, an Exodus student for 8 years, just earned her diploma from Aquinas High School. Last fall, Exodus took her on several college campus visits, and she fell in love with SUNY New Paltz. When her acceptance letter arrived, we all rejoiced together. In the end, however, she decided to enroll in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, right here in New York City. Certainly a great school where she will do well, and we’re wishing her the best. At the same time, not choosing a dream school is a pattern we’re seeing more often here at Exodus.
While there are many factors that may have contributed to Jeritzel’s decision, It’s important to note that many Latino students in NYC have faced a multitude of obstacles on their way to high school graduation. For them, decisions about attending college can be a complex process.
Young adults that have grown up in low-income homes may fear putting even a small amount of financial strain on their families, even if their financial aid package is generous. Others have spent little time away from home, and are cautious about the unknown of a far away campus. And finally, after years of battling cultural bias and low expectations in the classroom, fear of success, or failure, can loom large. They need support as they make these decisions, and the knowledge that once they begin their college journey, they will not be alone.
Exodus is unique in that we maintain strong relationships with our graduates as they move through college. A number of those that stay in New York City make up our team of awesome tutors. They gain valuable job experience, money for books and other expenses, and we gain incredibly talented bi-lingual tutors. Those students that move away hear from us regularly, and they know that we are always here for them.
We have recently upped our commitment to these graduates with the launch of the Luis, Maggie & Gerald Iza Scholarship & Excellence fund. It is our vision that no Exodus student would have to make a college decision based solely on financial need.
We’re very proud of our Exodus graduates, all extraordinary young men and women that have proven that they can achieve. If you would like to commit to praying for an Exodus student that needs encouragement as they step into this new phase of life, let us know. Email julie [at] operationexodus.org to become an Exodus prayer partner. Many thanks.