From Ivy Tech to Ivy League
In high school I barely was a B student. I became so disenchanted with the educational environment that I wondered if I had the motivation to finish high school.
After graduating, I pursued music with school completely in my rear view mirror. Nothing has impacted my adult life more than my decision to pursue my hip hop dreams instead of college. I tell all about this in a speech I delivered to State Farm's Student Success Summit . Ten years after making this decision I was struggling to take care of my family of 6 and wishing I had a degree. However, basic needs: rent, food, gas, and diapers, etc., meant that school was not an option unless it was bringing money into the home. The choice seemed like a no-brainer; forget school and look for a good paying job. even though it seemed like a long shot, I was determined to find a way to go to school and bring money into the home at the same time. When I enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College, I found out that the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholarship allow me to do just that.
Ivy Tech To Acceptance into an Ivy League College?
My first and only goal during the first semester of school at Ivy Tech was to do well enough not to flunk out. That was it. However, after earning a 4.0 for 3 semesters in a row, I began to see that I had much more to accomplish in academia... What if I could keep earning these kind of grades? Are there honor societies for community college students? What schools scout high performing community college students?
What I quickly learned was that my success in the classroom was about to open some very interesting doors. Because of my success, I began to be introduced to executive level leadership at my school, received an invitation from the largest academic honor society in the world, and received all types of solicitations from schools. Some of the messages had direct scholarship offers of up to $40,000. I received mail from Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago and many, many more. Overall, I received more than 400 invitations to apply from colleges and universities by mail, email, and sometimes telephone.
Why am I raising funds?
I need help! I moved my wife and four kids across the country to a pursue an Ivy League Education. Along with the expenses that we incurred with the move, we quickly learned that living on the east coast can cost almost double what life costs in the midwest.
Help me raise $30,000 to support my family as I pursue full time studies at Penn.
If you would like to be apart of this great endeavor, here are 3 ways to help:
1. Give a gift: Donate HERE Today
2. Share the link with your social network on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
3. Host a party: (This is a great way to support if you have a strong network of possible supporters. You invite the people. I share my story. I make the appeal. We reach the goal!)
If you can think of another way to support, I am very interested in hearing your ideas.
Thank you again for helping me pursue this excellent opportunity at University of Pennsylvania.
Casey Bridgeford is an award-winning American hip hop artist and community builder. Artistically known as "iLL Holiday"; his music drives listeners to live positive lifestyles. He also writes for a blog ( www.illholiday.com) where he shares new music, fashion, and culture from around the globe.
Casey's community work has allowed him to develop his city's first and only city-wide peace tour and be honored by Citizen's Energy Group as one of its 125 Leaders. He currently works to develop young professionals who are passionate about impacting their community.
Learn more about Casey "iLL Holiday" Bridgeford at the following links:
Casey's TED Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egXGwITZRAE
ILL Holiday Dot Com: www.illholiday.com
Public Allies Blog: http://allies2010.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/guest-blogger-funny-but-sad-but-in-the-end-inspiring/
If you think that being a non-traditional student makes me less worthy of support, I respect that. If you believe that the support I have already raised is enough, I won't argue with that opinion. If your opinion that since I am at an Ivy League school, I should be in just the right environment to raise whatever money that is necessary, or that my degree will allow me to bounce back from any debt I incur; I won't argue with you either.
However, there are some people who believe that an investment in me and my family is an investment into the belief that poverty does not have to determine how far a person can go. You believe that I am not only setting an example for my kids, but equipping myself to empower people who don't see a way out of poverty. Your belief in me has led you to give, share, and encourage me. To you, I say thank you!
Because of you, I have had the opportunity to play a part in matching 20 inner city middle schoolers with workplace mentorships at Penn and elsewhere. Because of you, I have had the opportunity to turn Wharton's attention to the the 93% of school aged children who grow up in poverty in the same zip code as the school. Because of you I am well on my way to piloting a program that leverages the power of local businesses to fund and empower local non-profits. It is because of you, that I am leveraging the might name of this university to do work that I believe makes a real difference in real people's lives.
It is to you that I appeal to continue your support. My journey to Penn has not halted my community work. It has empowered it. I now have the institutional support to work on bigger and more complex problems. I wish I could say the same for my financial situation. I am here; my family is here, but we are not in the clear. We are still working to make this trip make financial sense. Any gift you make will help us continue to pay rent, utilities, and keep me in school.
Please consider supporting us with a gift today. You can give financially, share this link on social media, or shoot me a message of encouragement. Any support you can offer is much appreciated.
Ups"¦Downs"¦And all around"¦All the highs and lows gave my psyche whiplash from the sharp turns of this ride. However, I am on this ride to get the prize! I need that degree! This new year has given me a new outlook. I don't have it all figured out, but I do have one thing figured out"¦ This will be the making of me!
Thanks for your continued support.