Jermisha Hinton first joined Higher Achievement because she felt as if she would benefit from extra assistance with her schoolwork. “As one of seven children, I didn’t always have anyone around to help me with my work, and Higher Achievement gave me attention and guidance that I needed in middle school,” says Jermisha.
But Higher Achievement wasn’t just about school for Jermisha. The relationships forged at center were foundational to her experience. Mentors helped Jermisha identify and develop her own strengths and learning style, and encouraged her as she built up her confidence. Jermisha was reserved when she started Higher Achievement, and program helped her to open up and become more social.
“Towards the end of my Higher Achievement journey, I could see a noticeable difference in my grades and my character. I learned so much about myself in the program, including how much I was capable of doing when I gave my all.”
When Jermisha graduated in 8th grade, she wasn’t ready to let go. She progressed from scholar to alumna, volunteering in the office and interning at Higher Achievement through high school. “It was a rewarding experience as a graduate of the program,” remembers Jermisha. “I really felt like the work that I was doing directly benefitted scholars.”
Relationships built during program didn’t end when Jermisha graduated 8th grade. She continued to stay in touch with her peers, staff, and mentors, and two of her mentors took her on trips to visit colleges. Higher Achievement staff also helped Jermisha identify and apply to programs like the Mikva Challenge and the Global Youth Leadership Academy while she was in high school.
Mikva is a youth advocacy program whose mission is to address social justice issues and help young people learn to advocate for themselves and their peers. As part of the program, Jermisha went to Iowa to work with the Elizabeth Warren campaign.
Thanks to funding from Higher Achievement board member Brian Flegel, Jermisha traveled to Switzerland with the Global Youth Leadership Academy the summer before her junior year. The trip encouraged her to embrace and develop her leadership skills and gave her the opportunity to travel all across the country, experiencing beautiful hikes, scavenger hunts, picnics, and meaningful conversations.
“My ability to participate in programs like Mikva and Global Youth Leadership Academy has been a direct reflection of the people at Higher Achievement who have stood by to support me,” attests Jermisha.
In addition to her experiences with Mikva and the Global Youth Leadership Academy, Jermisha was recently honored as a Posse scholar. Posse scholars are an elite group selected from a wide pool of high school applicants, and receive a full ride to college, in addition to academic and career support before, during, and after college.
“Higher Achievement has helped prepare Jermisha to be ready to take this next step in life,” says David Barber, Director of Posse D.C. “The Posse Foundation will help carry her into college and out into the workforce where we look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in the future!”
As one of 10 Posse scholars from the DMV area that will all be attending school together in the fall, Jermisha won’t have to face the college experience alone.
This month, Jermisha graduates from Eastern High School and looks ahead to attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon in the fall.
“I’m excited about what’s to come! I may even do a cross-country road trip this summer to get to Oregon,” says Jermisha. “I’m looking forward to being able to learn lots of different things and explore what speaks to me the most in college.”