Scholar Spotlight: Josiah

7th-grade scholar Josiah has been part of the Higher Achievement community for seven years, thanks to his older sister who introduced him to the program when she joined at the end of her 4th-grade year.

The days are long for Josiah, and he often doesn’t get home until 7:30 p.m. But the extra time at Higher Achievement is worth it. “This might be the best afterschool program ever,” says Josiah. “There’s extra recess, electives, extra time for learning, trips to high schools and colleges, and mentoring. Mentors help us with our work and help me sharpen my skills, dig deeper, and put it all together.”

Josiah has stepped into leadership as the Lakeland Achievement Center Scholar Ambassador. “I have to explain everything about Higher Achievement to visitors to center. I like the challenge,” says Josiah. “My job is really special to me because it gives me a chance to express myself in ways I can’t with people my age.”

Being a Scholar Ambassador allows Josiah to stand out among his peers. It feels good to be recognized as a leader, but Josiah also understands the importance of growing and learning with others and makes a point to try and connect with everyone at center. “All students have an equal amount of talent. It could be in pre-calc or shooting darts – talent is talent. But it’s not only about talent, it’s about hard work. You can’t channel talent if you don’t put in the hard work to master it.”

Josiah is putting in the hard work to master his own talents and interests. Last year he was part of a youth football league that won the state championships, and he already has a plan for his academic ambitions. He hopes to one day study engineering and is interested in the connection between engineering and art, as seen in such classical masters as Davinci and Michelangelo. “I’m a renaissance man,” says Josiah. “My uncle took me on a trip to Italy and I got to make my own mini marble sculpture there!”

Josiah sees how he has grown over his time in Higher Achievement. The high behavioral expectations of the program helped motivate Josiah to manage his emotions. “I used to have a very short fuse and I would get mad. But I learned to let things brush off my shoulders,” says Josiah. Now he is consistently recognized at center for participating and being part of building up positive culture. Josiah is particularly proud of the recognition he received while visiting Morgan College with Higher Achievement. “I was able to answer a math question from a college student!” he proclaims.

Higher Achievement offers scholars like Josiah opportunities to lead, build confidence in their talents, and pursue their biggest ambitions.