Home » Events » GEAR UP Day at the State House 2016 Celebrates Crusaders – Slide Show


GEAR UP Day at the State House 2016 Celebrates Crusaders – Slide Show



More than 50 middle school and high school students were honored with high-participation certificates at our 2016 RI GEAR UP Day at the State House event on June 7. They were welcomed by several members of the RI legislature, who shared personal stories and advice about the value of getting a good education. Sen. Howard Metts, Sen. Juan Pichardo, and Rep. Shelby Maldonado, a College Crusade alumna who graduated from Central Falls High School in 2005 and now represents her city, talked with Crusaders about many issues important to youth and took questions.

Other honored guests who spoke to Crusaders included Rep. Joseph McNamara, Sen. Hannah Gallo, and RI Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell. Outgoing College Crusade president & CEO Todd Flaherty took the opportunity to introduce our incoming president & CEO Andrew Bramson to the Crusaders in attendance.

A highlight of the event was an address by Edith Baez (below left), a Crusade senior graduating from E-Cubed Academy this year. Introduced by her Advisor, Brittany Njie, Edith stepped up to the podium and recognized the important support and guidance she received:

Family. Mentor. Friend. Advisor. Mother. These are the words that describe my College Crusade Advisor. Before I begin, I would like to say thank you, Brittany. Thank you for bridging the gap between myself and opportunity. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for believing in me when very few did.

Gear Up at RI State House / College CrusadeEdith described several memorable moments she had as a Crusader, including the process of applying to and being accepted for a prestigious summer program at Princeton University called Leadership for a Diverse America (LEDA) when she was a junior. She went on to say:

I’m going to be honest; I am an extremely independent person. I learned how to make my own breakfast at five, I took myself to my bus stop at seven, I read my bedtime stories to myself. I had to learn to be independent because my parents spend most of their time working, trying to make ends meet. But, when you have support you can become ten times more successful than if you were alone. This is the advice I can give to people who were in my shoes, in a literal sense, weeks ago. Ask for help. If you have all of these resources available to you, take advantage of them. You will regret not doing so. Also, remember when adversity hits you, when the electricity is cut off, when your pockets are empty, remember nobody has the power to take your education from you.

Edith, who is enrolling at Columbia University in the fall, ended by saying:

I am not going to Columbia University for no cost because of my talent or intelligence alone; I am going to Columbia University because of the undying support that was afforded to me.

I would like to thank not only my advisor, but also the collective advocacy of all the Crusade advisors for ensuring that we have an equal chance at success. Thank you to the Board and staff of the College Crusade of Rhode Island for always being helpful and approachable. Thank you Brittany for believing in my abilities to do anything I set my mind to. Without the gracious support of the people who helped The College Crusade of Rhode Island flourish, I would not be in the position to tell my story.

We congratulate Edith and all the young people of The College Crusade, who continue to amaze us with their passion and dedication to excellence!

Gear Up at RI State House / College Crusade

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