Urban League College Track’s Troy Simon Introduces First Lady Michelle Obama at White House Forum
On January 16th, Troy Simon introduced First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House forum focused on expanding college opportunities for students. College Track joined college and university Presidents, national foundations, individual and government representatives, and similar education non-profits from across the country at the White House event.
Troy, a New Orleans native, graduated from Sci Academy in 2012. His path to graduation was not easy; Troy did not learn how to read until he was 14 years old. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Troy’s family relocated to Houston where Troy enrolled at Now College Prep, a KIPP school comprised of primarily Teach For America teachers. Troy's fifth grade teacher, a TFA corps member, helped him learn how to read.
When Troy returned to New Orleans, he enrolled in Urban League College Track. His experience at Urban League College Track helped Troy focus on writing. During his time in the program, he met with Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, who read his work, “Through a Boy’s Eyes,” and awarded him two full scholarships to attend the Aspen Summer Words Young Writers' Conference and Ideas Festival. While there, Troy studied with award-winning novelist and University of North Carolina Professor Randall Keenan, and was published in two works developed by Urban League College Track students: Whispering Conscience and Young in America: New Orleans.
In 2012, Troy was awarded a four-year, full-ride Leadership scholarship from the Posse Foundation. He is now a sophomore at Bard College, pursuing a major in American Literature.
Troy’s success can be attributed to many people and programs: College Track, The Urban League of Greater New Orleans, Teach For America, the Posse Foundation, and his dedicated teachers. In Troy’s words, “Between Posse, College Track, and my old teachers, I have an unbreakable support system.”
At the forum, College Track committed to serving more students like Troy. By 2016, the program expects to more than double its impact, increasing enrollment from 1,600 to 3,000 students. In 10 years, College Track will serve over 10,000 students across the country and increase its number of college graduates tenfold. Additionally, the organization has ambitious growth plans to open at least one new site per year for the foreseeable future. Currently, College Track operates six sites in East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Colorado.
Watch the Troy's full interview on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell below.
College Track was cited in several news sources including MSNBC, the Washington Post, SF Gate, and Politico. Michelle Obama also wrote about Troy in the White House Blog. More information on College Track's commitment, as well as the commitments made by colleges and universities across the country can be found here.