For our high school seniors here at FLOC, it’s that most wonderful time of the year—college application time! Deadlines are fast-approaching, but thanks to the hard work of our students and their Postsecondary Coaches, we have already seen a few acceptance letters make their way to our seniors. Thomas recently celebrated his acceptance to Allegany College and Chesapeake College in Maryland; Shante received a letter offering her a space at Livingstone College in North Carolina; Chardonnay received admission offers from three local schools (Montgomery College, NOVA, and Trinity) and Wilson just received a phone call confirming his acceptance to Albright University in Pennsylvania. Yes, a phone call! What a great way to receive the good news, actually hearing someone say, “Congratulations! We would love to have you join us next fall!”
Sounds of celebration at FLOC quickly followed these offers from these colleges and universities. What a fitting addition to the cacophony our seniors have heard during their years at FLOC. Our weekly program spaces are filled with singing, dancing, laughing, snacking—these kids sure love Chipotle!—and, yes, even some shouting from time to time. We host a kind of controlled chaos, but it is within these spaces that lasting relationships are built and lives are changed forever.
Throughout the winter and into the spring, we will continue celebrating the offers that our students receive, but these joyful moments will have been months—even years—in the making. This year, each of our high school seniors has been paired with an individual volunteer committed to supporting them throughout the application process. These Postsecondary Coaches have been invaluable to the success of our seniors here at FLOC. Providing our students with the resources they need to access quality postsecondary opportunities and career success is each Coach’s small contribution to the move for educational justice in D.C., but it is truly the laughter shared that keeps them coming back each week.
So even as we see the days grow shorter and feel the air get colder, let us remember to listen carefully for the joyful sounds that surround us this holiday season—especially laughter, celebration, and those life-changing phone calls!
(Ian McPherson is the Scholars Program Instructor for the 12th grade.)