A Program for Gifted Students From Low Income Backgrounds
Not just any student can enroll in a university after the 6th grade, but that was the case for Brittany Anderson, now a senior in Baylor’s School of Education. She first came to Baylor as a participant in the Project Promise program during summer 1999. Brittany enrolled in the University for Young People (UYP), which prepares low-income students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college, and thus began her journey at Baylor.
Baylor’s Center for Community Learning and Enrichment provides this opportunity for students like Brittany. The city of Waco awards scholarships to the program, which identifies children’s interests and possible career goals, matches students with classes that meet their interests, and provides activities for students, their parents, and teachers.
Brittany graduated valedictorian of her high school in may 2004 and began her official education at Baylor. Next year she’ll graduate with a BS in education and apply for her teacher certification in Early Childhood – 4th grade Generalist with a supplemental certificate in English as a Second Language (ESL).
Brittany said, “My Baylor experience in the School of Education has been amazing and has allowed me to have more hands-on experiences than at other universities.” Brittany will have a year-long internship this year and would enjoy opening a school or community center in a low socio-economic area. “Low-income kids seem to need and want help, and they need good role models.”
A Baylor study of the program revealed that students who continue in Project Promise have better perceptions about themselves, their relationships with peers and mentors, and perceived parental support than students who do not continue in the program. over ninety percent of students who stay in the program continue on to higher education. Of the 16 former UYP Project Promise students who graduated from high school within the past two years, 15 are first-generation college students, and three are at Baylor.
Zachary Gamez, a Baylor freshman engineering major, joined in the program’s inaugural year of 1999. During a recent Baylor orientation, Zachary and his father stopped by the Center and Mr. Gamez told the current mentors of their value to students like his son, “Here is living proof of what someone just like you did for Zachary.”
Project Promise was the only recipient in texas awarded the 2006 Audrey nelson community development Achievement Award from the National Community Development Association.
Learn more about the Center and how you can help students like Brittany or Zachary.