My Tuition Hardship/Degree Hold

Last month, I packed my Toyota Corolla to its brim with my clothes, laptop, and TV, leaving behind everything I had grown comfortable with in Houston for the past 6 years to embark on an important journey rooted in social responsibility, spiritual fulfillment and personal purpose. I accepted a coveted appointment with Teach For America-Memphis as a member of their 2017 Corps. In this important work, high-achieving college graduates and future leaders - I am among the approximately 10% of accepted applicants out of nearly 50,000 - are immersed in a rigorous K-12 teacher training, cultural competence, and community involvement regimen in order to become transformational educators, civic leaders and change agents in communities of some of our most oppressed populations. These educators, while engaged in ongoing training and professional development,  are integrated into low-income, impoverished communities around the continental U.S. and Hawaii to battle systemic issues of educational inequity and social injustice. My specific assignment as an elementary teacher in the public/charter schools of Memphis/Shelby County, Tennessee has proven to be truly transformational and deeply rooted in my passions for educational and socioeconomic equity and social justice in the benefit of traditionally underrepresented, disenfranchised communities. I have never felt more whole in my entire life.
Unfortunately, this week (now 4 weeks into my training program, 3 weeks in front of my class of first grade students, and with 2 successfully-passed national teaching exams behind me), my journey has abruptly been threatened with coming to an end. In order to finalize my teaching certification for the State of Tennessee, I am required to retrieve another degree-conferring, official transcript from my alma mater. However, due to a nearly $3,000 outstanding tuition and fee balance, my university - where I graduated with a 3.71 GPA with a B.A. in History while balancing a full-time career, occasional hours at a part-time delivery job, and assisting family members - refuses to release my hard-earned degree or transcript necessary to secure employment. After exploring every imagineable option, searching for viable alternatives, and even numerous acts of university faculty, staff and Teach For America advocacy, it has unequivocally been communicated that without paying the full outstanding balance, I am prohibited from accessing my official transcript or degree. I have 2 weeks to secure the full amount, or I will be denied a state-certified teaching position and unable to continue engaging in this essential, life-changing work with Teach For America.
With every ounce of my being, sincerity, a frightening vulnerability, and a genuinely humble heart, I am asking that you will help me overcome this prohibitive technicality in order to do what I feel is aligned with my life's purpose. If you are able to assist, I will be eternally grateful and promise your support will be sown in good ground and will manifest itself in this community work I'm so committed to doing. I will not let you down.

With Deep Thanks,
Reginald M. ("Reggie") White
2017 Teach For America Corps Member
Memphis, Tennessee


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Reggie White 
Memphis, TN
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