Kenneth Del Valle has been one of the leaders in the 2015 to 2016 College Prep junior to senior cohort. Extracurricular baseball often conflicted with the weekly meeting times, but he made a point of attending the extra Saturday mentoring and homework help sessions to catch up and keep on top of his scholastic goals. Ken will be the first in his family to go to college and faced additional challenges coming from a single parent, low income family. Ken wrote an essay on leadership and was chosen to attend the Lideres National Youth Leadership Conference with three others from his cohort. Halfway through the NCLR Conference, Ken pulled the Center’s youth coordinator aside and shared that he was feeling a need to contribute to his community and to get more involved. The topics at the conference combined with the college prep explorations and civic engagement activities had shone a light for him on what he wanted to do as he becomes a young leader in Hartford.
Ken was selected this Summer for an internship with Prudential in Hartford. His professional experience at Prudential visibly shaped him coming into his Senior year. Ken is very focused on getting into a college to pursue business, criminal justice, or law. Throughout the program Ken has been an advocate for the program and has recruited other participants and classmates to the college prep program.
Ken applied to eight colleges, completed his FAFSA application, and applied for numerous college scholarships. He was already awarded a CHET Advance scholarship and is expected to qualify for several more. We are proud of his achievements and are excited for him to come back to his community as a college educated leader in four years.
The Center’s staff has been working with Cyanne DeJesus in college prep program throughout 2015 and into 2016. Cyanne is our most outspoken community leader in the program. The Center for Latino Progress is excited to be supporting Cyanne’s quest to be the first in her family to complete a college degree.
Cyanne is always ready with well-formed questions and comments. Her active participation in the college prep activities raised the bar and kept the group engaged. Hartford leaders that attended meetings to talk to the students could count on at least one, if not many, good questions about their topic of expertise. When the group attended a City Council meeting, Cyanne was one of only two students who chose to address the Council. At a recent youth focused town hall meeting with Hartford’s Mayor, Cyanne was the only youth to address the large crowd with a well-spoken recommendation to expand summer youth employment. Cyanne’s statement was quoted in a newspaper article the following day.
Cyanne applied to seven colleges, completed her FAFSA application, and applied for numerous college scholarships. She will be the first in her family to complete college and is living in a single parent household with grandparent assistance. Cyanne entered the college prep program at The Center based on a recommendation from her technical high school’s nurse. The technical high school she is attending does not have a college prep track or classes that challenge this inquisitive student. Cyanne blossomed with the additional opportunities for professional development, public speaking, and civic engagement. We are very excited to have been a part of that personal growth.