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When I completed my education at Cincinnati Public Schools, I found myself woefully unprepared for the challenges of college. The memory of abruptly leaving a math class during my freshman year, overwhelmed and embarrassed, still lingers vividly in my mind. It was just one example of the many emotions I experienced due to my lack of readiness. Unfortunately, this resulted in my academic suspension from the University.

During my hiatus from college, I had ample time for reflection. It became clear to me that the deficiency in my high school education stemmed from a lack of emphasis on learning, both at home and within the school system. What frustrated me the most was the profound sense of inadequacy that the suspension left me with. This served as a powerful motivation for me to return to school and earn my degree.

To this day, I remain closely connected to the state of Cincinnati Public Schools. According to, the school system continues to receive a failing report card in relation to all major standards. The memories of my own college experience fuel my determination to prevent any first-generation student from encountering the same daunting emotions that plagued me. This is precisely why I am involved with Level Up Cincinnati, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, coaching, and scholarships to first-generation Black and Latinx students. It is also why I serve on the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative Young Professional Board and actively participate in Future Focus—an initiative powered by Citi—through which I contribute to financial literacy programs and workplace readiness curricula in local high schools.

I transformed my indignation towards a deeply flawed educational system into actionable steps. This endeavor is deeply personal to me. It is the driving force behind my active fight to prevent other students from enduring the same hardships. While some may perceive my efforts as small, I firmly believe that every mentorship, every conversation I have with an aspiring student can create a profound impact on someone's life, just as it did for me. And I am confident that it will continue to do so for others.

I am a firm believer that every little bit counts. Through collective efforts, we have the power to change the world. Together, united in our mission to improve education and empower young minds, we can dismantle the barriers that hinder students' success. Let us join forces, inspire and uplift one another, and create a future where every student receives the education they deserve. With dedication and determination, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of countless individuals.

Transforming Lives Through Education

By: JeRod

Transforming Lives Through Education
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