Have you ever seen a glimpse of a possible future and it’s changed your whole outlook on where you are?
Five of Behind Every Door’s on-site leaders endeavored to inspire a group of students from their after school programming by showing them a new world beyond what they had previously seen. What was this new world? College.
Darrion Lewis (Community Director at The Rose) and 4 other Behind Every Door on-site leaders took 19 high school students from our 3 communities to Darrion’s alma mater, Langston University in Oklahoma. Langston is a part of the Historically Black College and Universities network of colleges that were established before Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community.
Although Oklahoma doesn’t seem that far away to some of us, the 245 mile road trip from Dallas proved to be quite a feat for most of our students, some of whom had never been outside of Dallas. Some students saw mountains and hills for the first time in their lives, and some marveled at the cows in the fields along the highway.
Samandre, a 15 year old freshman boy, had never been out of Texas before attending this trip. In fact, the only place he had ever been besides Dallas was San Antonio. After years of struggling with grades and getting in trouble in school, Samandre has recently found a determination to succeed, as he stays busy with his school work, football practice, and working 30 hours a week at Kroger. Darrion and his colleague Cierra Cotton decided Samandre was the kind of student that would greatly benefit from seeing how other students like him were going to college.
When arriving at Langston, Darrion (Community Director at The Rose) took the kids on a tour of the university. He was able to give them a unique perspective as he was a student there himself for his college education and was also quarterback of the football team. Having this personal connection to the university helped to inspire our kids and helped to break down the mindset that attending college is impossible, which is what most of our students think.
After the tour of the university, the students got a tour of the athletic facilities and got to meet the head coach of the football team. This unique experience made watching the football game that night more personal for the kids. They were in awe that they were watching a game on the exact field on which Darrion played, cheerin on the Langston Lions! It wasn’t just athletic dreams being built during the game, but also band, color guard, and drill team aspirations. A high school senior girl from The Rose was inspired by the band and shared that she dreamed of joining the school band if she went to a college like Langston.
When the tour was over and the group was safely back home in Dallas, Samandre was hopeful and encouraged. He told our staff leaders, “I really, really enjoyed myself. It was just a really good day. I’m really thankful you took us, and that you let us ride in the suburbans. I felt so cool.”
Darrion Lewis, Langston grad and Behind Every Door Community Director, shared his thoughts on the day:
“The intent of this trip was to expose our high school students to college, while also encouraging the students to take ownership in the experience, and to walk away seeing themselves one day attending college. Along with seeing the campus and attending the football game, our students were able to speak with campus leaders, ask questions, and take pictures. This trip meant the world to the BED Staff because God used us to affirm the students dreams of going to college.”