Success story: College graduate grateful for P4K support

Posted by on Mar 19, 2019 in blog, success story | 0 comments

Bouncing around to nine different schools by 4th grade made for a challenging start to Terry’s education.

He was even home-schooled for a bit in between all the transitions. One day he was pulled out of school and woke up the next day in a shelter with his mother, unsure what city they were in.

Despite the back and forth, Terry started with P4K in elementary school and embarked on a remarkable journey to success.

“I couldn’t play basketball or football the best, but I found I could win a bike [through P4K] by being good in school,” Terry said. “So that was my motivation at first; being able to win a speed math test and get a bike.”

Through elementary, middle, and high school, Terry stuck with P4K even when he attended non- P4K schools, and he’d travel with other kids to mentor meetings.

At first, he wanted to go have fun with his friends instead of meetings, but he soon appreciated the benefits.

“The meetings and interactions with my goal buddy planted a seed in me to prepare me for middle school and beyond,” Terry said.

In high school, his family dealt with financial hardships, which made life as a new student at North High School difficult.

“The kids cared so much about what you wore,” Terry said. “I wanted to look nice, but we just didn’t have the money.”

Terry described himself as never fitting into one group in school, but he found his people and an interest in engineering through an electric car club in high school. Throughout those years he wanted to be a mechanic.

Terry said P4K helped provide structure to his life throughout high school.

“I really felt the concern for my academic and overall growth because of P4K’s consistent involvement with my academic progress,” Terry said.

Later, Terry realized the things he loved about engineering were the research design process and working with his hands to identify and solve a problem. Now, he applies that passion to launching a career in medicine.

After graduating from high school, Terry moved to Huntsville, Alabama, and graduated from Oakwood University. Today, he is waiting to hear back from numerous medical schools, like UNMC, Creighton, and several others, to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery.

Terry is the epitome of a jack-of-all-trades. He’s passionate about medical research in chronic disease and transplant surgery, while on the side, he enjoys home installation projects.

“My dad can do anything, and I learned from him that you’ve gotta be able to work with your hands,” Terry said. “That’s very important to me, to be able to do anything.”

Terry has always been active in his own success, but support from his family, his goal buddy, P4K mentors, and local professionals in groups like 100 Black Men, North Boys & Girls Club, and Global Leadership Group, helped Terry with professional development through high school.

“I feel like you can overcome anything if you have the right guidance,” Terry said. “I learned a lot from my dad, but he was always working, so having a goal buddy — having someone consistently check up on me — made a big difference.”

Terry also finds joy in photography, roller-blading, fine suits, visiting with his elders, and board games.

“I’ll always be myself,” Terry said. “I’m unorthodox; I’m goofy. People will tell me I can’t be a doctor acting a certain way, but I just say, ‘watch me.’ Being true to yourself is what I find most important.”

Looking back, Terry remembers how he felt waiting in line outside a church for food and living with all his siblings in one room, but says it was all worth it.

“My situation wasn’t that bad. In the moment, I hated it, but people have it worse,” Terry said. “It really shows what a difference mentors can make. I want to be a mentor in the future, and I can’t wait to be able to donate.”

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