It was the final page of the PowerPoint presentation, and all eyes were on Kimberly Easley.
For the better part of an hour, student advisers Easley and Tre’Quan Martin had run a class of mostly ninth-graders through a primer highlighting much of what they’ll need to do over the next four years to graduate, get into college and succeed there.
Get good grades. Take part in extracurricular activities. Volunteer. Save money. Research colleges and career paths. Fill out the FAFSA. Pursue every scholarship possible.
You could see, for a teenager, how it could all be overwhelming. And then they landed on that final page: “Persistence.”
“That is probably the most important thing we want you to walk away with, because without that you really can’t achieve anything,” said Easley, a first-generation college graduate who weathered her own challenges — poverty, an absentee father, a drug-using mother — en route to a master’s degree from Alverno College.
“I could have used (that as) my crutch … for not going to college and not being successful,” Easley said.