Monday, September 8, 2014

The Promise

I am overwhelmed by the response of the campus to the call for mentors for TnPromise students.  As of the date of this blog, there are  84 employees who have signed up to be a mentor.  We are far ahead of second place.

The TnPromise is a huge event for Tennessee and is attracting national attention.  When I’m at a meeting and encounter educators from other parts of the U.S., they all want to talk to me about what is happening in Tennessee.

But let’s keep our focus on the real impact.  Beyond all the state and national attention and hoopla, the TnPromise will make a huge difference in the lives of those current high school seniors that take advantage of this opportunity.  I once heard a speaker say, “Our lives are not determined by what we want or like, but by the choices we make.”

We have talked about the idea that the required deadlines, mandatory meetings, and community service will result in “students having some skin in the game.”  That is true, but for some students stepping out to attend college on a promise and a prayer is a making major investment.

As we labor together to fulfill the promise to these students, we should all be aware that this goes beyond the promise of free tuition.  It is really about the promise of:

-An escape from poverty.  In the U.S., if a child is born in poverty there is a 60% chance they will live and die in poverty.  Education is the only proven escape.

-A better paying future job.  People with an associate’s degree, on average, have $350,000 more life time earning power than those with just a high school diploma.

-A more stable career.  During the recent recession, people with a post-secondary credential had a 50% lower unemployment rate.

-A more healthy life.  College graduates have fewer health problems.

-A more fulfilling life.  College graduates are more likely to be active in the community.

Thank you all for all you do to help our students have an opportunity for a brighter future.

-Jerry Faulkner

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