To the Editor:
Education Week‘s recent article “ ‘Lucky Few’ Served by War on Poverty College Programs” was a poignant and painfully accurate assessment of the struggles children from families of lower income face when trying to earn that seemingly unattainable college degree.
I commend the schools featured in the article for their exceptional efforts to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds view college as the next step in their lives—not just a dream pursued by those from more-affluent families.
College is an exciting, yet often daunting, landscape for young men and women to navigate, regardless of their financial backgrounds. Rigorous yet supportive academic curricula for children, mentoring and homelife support, and follow-through after high school graduation exponentially increase a student’s likelihood of achieving success.
In addition to providing some financial assistance, these schools help students further their education with emotional support. When preparation and support like this are available, the postgraduate terrain becomes easier to navigate.
At the Milton Hershey School, which I lead, more than 80 percent of our graduating seniors pursue postsecondary education. We are acutely aware of the hurdles they face and are challenged to provide the right amount of support necessary for our young graduates to realize success.
Peter G. Gurt
Milton Hershey School
A version of this article appeared in the January 07, 2015 edition of Education Week as Kudos for Schools Featured in War on Poverty Article