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#EMERGEtour is summer journey to remember for HISD students

2014 June 4
by HISD Communications

Summer travels are frequently enriching, but how many are life-changing? Visits to natural wonders, perhaps, or trips to religious shrines can have soul-searing significance.

This week, 93 HISD juniors and seniors are on the #EMERGEtour, a journey that promises to change their lives. These bright and engaged students who are part of our EMERGE program come from low-income homes where frequently no one has ever dreamed of going to college. Yet they’re guests this week at nine of the nation’s most prestigious Ivy League and Tier One campuses — Harvard, Yale, MIT, Tufts, to name a few.

Few of these young people have ventured far from Houston, have ever been on a plane. They have now, but more importantly, they’re allowing their imaginations to soar. By the time they’ve ended their tour, seen what dorm life is like, and heard from current students who came from homes like theirs, they will understand that if they continue to apply themselves, these elite schools are within their reach. Sixty-four members of HISD’s class of 2014 are living proof, on their way this fall, most with full financial aid that can total around a quarter-million dollars for four years.

Within one day, after hearing from “first gen” college students, our EMERGE youngsters had new insights.

“My parents, as typical as immigrant parents can get, just nod their heads whenever I bring up a single detail about college,” wrote Humza Baig. “They have nothing to offer me but their love and support. I learned today that is enough.”

“It was nice to relate to someone who had to push instead of pitying themselves,” said Brittany Blain. “Stories of first gen students can be gritty and tough, but I hope one day to give advice to those in my shoes, too.”

Another HISD EMERGE tour is planned in July. Through next spring, we’ll be following the seniors as they blog about navigating the college application process. And this time next year, we expect they’ll be planning for a new journey — very possibly to one of the campuses they’re visiting this week.

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