10 years ago, I entered a program at Hofstra University that pretty much changed my life. It’s called the New Opportunities at Hofstra, otherwise known as the NOAH program which is part the Higher Educational Opportunities Program in New York state universities. The program awards a 5-year scholarship to a select group of students from New York at Hofstra University. Each freshman class has to participate in a unprecedented summer program that we like to compare to an “academic boot camp” while learning about the empowering history of African-American and Latino cultures. The students learn what it means to strive towards excellence while creating a camaraderie (which is more like a family) of NOAH brothers and sisters. When I went through my summer program, I left empowered and proud to be a Afro-Latina woman. I learned more about my history in those 6-weeks than I did in my entire 12 years of education prior. The program prepares the students with the regime, study tools, and preparatory skills needed to excel on the Hofstra campus…and as a proud graduate, that is exactly what I did!
So once I got invited to speak to the freshmen class, I JUMPED at the opportunity. These students need to be heard and molded to be tomorrow’s leaders just as much as any other group of college freshmen. It was a pleasure to speak to them, to inspire and to let them know that 10 years ago I was in their very shoes and 10 years later I stand in front of them as an example of the possible! Talk about embracing my legacy!