College Track will be coming to the East Coast—thanks in large part to MVP-award winning basketball forward Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors.
“I want them to see the world,” Durant told the Washington Post, referring to the high school students College Track will be shepherding through the college process. “I want them to see where people are from and see that there are things outside their world. I don’t know exactly or at what pace that they will get it, but there is a world outside that they need to see.”
What Is College Track?
College Track was founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs, and Carlos Watson, founder of OZY, more than 20 years ago. The organization supports low-income high school students beginning in ninth grade for 10 years in their efforts to secure a college education. Durant’s investment will provide construction and operating expenses for a College Track location in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, where Durant grew up.
The program provides comprehensive support—tutoring, test preparation, college selection, applying for financial aid—that low income, predominantly black and Hispanic kids and the schools they attend often lack, says the Post.
The program is working. According to stats on the College Track website, 99% of College Track seniors apply to a four-year college, 94% are accepted, and 88% enroll; 98% enroll in some kind of postsecondary education; 51.8% graduate in six years (compared with a national average of 45%; the graduation rate of first-generation, low-income students is only 21%).
Durant, Tech, and Philanthropy
“Ultimately, we want students to have the full range of choice when it comes to their job prospects, because we know that as College Track graduates they leave their campuses with the opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives and to serve as role models for their friends, families, and communities,” the College Track site says.
Durant, an Olympic gold medalist, NBA Rookie of the Year, and nine-time NBA All-Star, got involved with College Track because of his interests in both tech and philanthropy, the Post says.
“He had a vision of his own experience, which was mentors and tutors and coaches who had an influence, and who changed his life trajectory, which is what we do,” Elissa Salas, College Track’s chief executive is quoted as saying. “The leadership component: Exploring your dreams, your purpose and passion. An expectation of service work. That is what resonated with Kevin. It didn’t take much selling.”
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