My grandmother always told me that I was better at baseball than basketball or football. Well then grandma, why in the hell did you tell that baseball scout for the California Angels that I would not be signing any contract at the age of sixteen, because I was going to college? And, lo and behold, I later found out that the Saint Louis Cardinals were interested too. I was so mad at my grandmother for the longest time, because my thinking was, “To hell with college. I can play in the Majors for fifteen years and then retire and buy the damn college.” But she was having no parts of it. Therefore, being my legal guardian – her word ruled. In which, at this particular point and time as well, it was being highly emphasized by my family, coaches, teachers and counselors and Mr. Brown that I really need to start concentrating on my education to get good grades so that I could go to college.
Now I was a pretty good student, when I put my mind to it and wanted to be. What really had an incredible impact on my academic affairs during those formative years was a program called Upward Bound. The Upward Bound Program consisted of good students with the strong possibility of attending college, could take college preparatory courses in reading, writing and math while getting paid for their efforts. During the summer, students who participated in this elite program would stay on campus at the selective universities in the dormitories for two months, attend classes all day and do all types of educational activities which would enhance one’s total overall academic experience. Upward Bound, where I attended with several other top students around the state of California and abroad was at UCLA and Long Beach State College.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my junior high school Geometry Teacher; Mr. Ullom for pushing for this vital and needed program. Mr. Ullom, along with other top-notch educators demanded that the program be funded and implemented, when the School District had said that there was not enough money to support the program. Therefore, I give my sincere kudos and appreciation to Mr. Ullom and those other dedicated teachers for pushing for this program. This Upward Bound program had such an encouraging positive impact on my academic career at this critical junction. This is where I became serious about my education and started taking college prep courses in order to prepare myself for the tough road ahead of obtaining a college degree.
That was my grandmother’s dream for me. Not necessarily mine,