Rainier Scholars: Then and Now

From KPLU radio (Seattle, WA):

Persistence, smarts and hard work do pay off. This is what the first class of the Rainier Scholars program is learning. The non-profit, based in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, mentors low income kids of color so they can be successful in the classroom and in life.We met some of these students back in 2004 when they were in middle school. One of them was Tiesa McElroy. The last time I saw McElroy, she was 13, shorter and pretty shy. It was the Spring of 2004 and she was just starting to see the results of the hundreds of hours of extra home work she was doing late into the night, which is a requirement if you want to be a Rainier Scholar.

“Why am I doing this, why am I doing this. Because all of the stuff I was learning at Rainier Scholars, I wasn’t learning any of that stuff in my schools and now that I’m in 7th grade, we’re just starting to get into a couple of the things I was learning in Rainier Scholars.”

McElroy stuck with it and today she’s in her first year at Knox College, a small private liberal arts school in Illinois. At 19, she’s still pretty soft spoken, but has a definite air of self confidence.

“Um I did pretty well in my first term.”

She’s on a scholarship and has over a 3.0 grade point average. I ask her if she’s declared a major.

“No, I’ve been thinking about a major, but I’m still undecided, so that’s what I call my major for now. But hopefully it will come to me.”