I was first introduced to the Higher Achievement afterschool program by my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Diggs, who thought that attending such a program would bring me “out of my shell.” I was a pretty good student, but I was quiet and shy. The decision to go to Higher Achievement was an easy one for me to make, because at my school there weren’t many opportunities for extracurricular activities. As I reflect on my time as a Higher Achievement scholar, I know it was the chance to travel and experience new places that made the biggest difference in my life.
The first great moment was my first plane ride. I participated with a few other scholars in a community service project. We traveled to New Orleans to assist with the Katrina relief efforts. I am proud to say that as a middle-school student, I ventured outside of the boundaries of my hometown, DC, and gained another perspective on life. I saw first-hand the devastation of the former residents of the lower Ninth Ward and other parts of New Orleans. By working with “Second Harvest Food Bank of America” to package over 25,000 pounds of food, I believe that I truly helped Katrina survivors.
There are so many things Higher Achievement has done for me - everything from helping me improve my public speaking skills to getting me into a great school to exposing me to college life. If it weren’t for Higher Achievement, I would not be able to stand in front of a room full of my peers and command their attention. If it weren’t for Higher Achievement, I would not have been exposed to so many types of people. That exposure helped me gain an understanding of peoples’ differences and similarities. If it weren’t for Higher Achievement, I would not be attending one of the country’s most prestigious high schools in the fall.
I guess what I mean to express is that, if it weren’t for Higher Achievement (and my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Diggs), I would never have come out of my shell.