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PEAK Alum Finds His Stride at St. Edward's

Every day as a sophomore at St. Edward's University in Austin, TX keeps me really busy. I go to two or three classes each day because I am taking 16 credits. One of my favorite classes this semester is Biopsychology because it ties into my professional interests.

Every day after class, I make a quick stop at my room to check on my dog before heading to my job at the Office of Residence Life. If I don’t have a meeting of the Black Students Association, where I’m treasurer, or cheerleading practice, I might be tutoring Spanish, which I started studying at Holy Trinity High School. 

Every day, I make sure to get in at least four hours of studying, and to make time for the things that keep me on track, like meditation and exercise, and at least a little fun.

Every day, I stay focused on what I want to get out of college, which is to get into a good doctoral program and to be in a position to help my family as a well-paid, independent adult.

The transition to college was hard. Many students from Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods who make it to college drop out. I get that. No one can prepare you for how big a change college life will be, or how hard you’ll have to work. 

It has been a challenge at times to find the energy, courage, and emotional capacity required to make the transition to an out of state university. But, thanks to PEAK, I’m finding my stride.

My PEAK mentor, Tunde, has been a constant support to me throughout this process. He always checks in on me and makes sure I have what I need. I know his work keeps him very busy, but he always makes time for me. In high school, he was a true coach and mentor, and now that I’m older, he is the supportive friend who picks up the phone whenever I call. I know we will always be close.

Without PEAK, Tunde, and my Holy Trinity education, I wouldn’t have become my driven, motivated self. Frankly, if it wasn’t for the PEAK program, I would probably fit a lot of the negative stereotypes some have about young black men from Chicago right now. I don’t take PEAK for granted. And I want more of the students who come from my neighborhood to have the opportunities that PEAK provides.

This holiday season, I invite you to support the success of future PEAK scholars like me by making a contribution during this first annual PEAK-a-thon. Your support will change a life forever. 

Happy Giving Tuesday!

With gratitude,

Lavelle Brown


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