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College Track Alumnus, Troy Simon, Selected to Speak at White House Forum on New Actions to Expand College Opportunities

Troy Simon, a Graduate of Urban League College Track and Posse Scholar, Did Not Learn How to Read Until He was 14; He is Now Studying American Literature at Bard College; On January 16th, He Will Speak at President Obama's Forum Focused on Expand

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - January 16, 2014) -  College Track CEO, David Silver, and Alumnus, Troy Simon, will join President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to engage in a discussion focused on new actions that will increase college opportunities for students. Troy Simon will be a speaker at the event and will introduce the First Lady.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to speak at the White House about my experiences and education. Though I struggled in school at first, the College Track and Posse programs, as well as my teachers, many of them Teach For America corps members, have been the support system I needed to succeed," said Troy.

Troy, a New Orleans native, graduated from the New Orleans Science and Math Academy in 2012. His path to graduation was not easy; Troy did not learn how to read until he was 14 years old. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Troy's family relocated to Houston where Troy enrolled at Now College Prep, a KIPP school comprised of primarily Teach For America teachers. Troy's fifth grade teacher, a TFA corps member, helped him learn how to read.

When Troy returned to New Orleans, he enrolled in Urban League College Track. His experience at Urban League College Track helped Troy focus on writing. During his time in the program, he met with Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, who read his work, "Through a Boy's Eyes," and awarded him two full scholarships to attend the Aspen Summer Words Young Writers' Conference and Ideas Festival. While there, Troy studied with award-winning novelist and University of North Carolina Professor Randall Keenan, and was published in two works developed by Urban League College Track students: Whispering Conscience and Young in America: New Orleans

In 2012, Troy was awarded a four-year, full-ride Leadership scholarship from the Posse Foundation. He is now a sophomore at Bard College, pursuing a major in American Literature. 

Troy's success can be attributed to many people and programs: College Track, The Urban League of Greater New Orleans, Teach For America, the Posse Foundation, and his dedicated teachers. In Troy's words, "Between Posse, College Track, and my old teachers, I have an unbreakable support system."

College Track -- a college completion non-profit that empowers students from underserved communities to graduate from college -- is committed to serving more students like Troy. By 2016, the program expects to more than double its impact, increasing enrollment from 1,600 to 3,000 students. In 10 years, College Track will serve over 10,000 students across the country and increase its number of college graduates tenfold. Additionally, the organization has ambitious growth plans to open at least one new site per year for the foreseeable future. Currently, College Track operates six sites in East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Colorado.

Over the last 16 years, College Track has demonstrated a tremendous record of success: more than 90 percent of seniors are admitted to four-year colleges, with 55 percent graduating in six or more years. Eighty-five percent of students are first generation college students. 

David Silver, College Track's CEO and a Teach For America Alumnus, is thrilled about Troy's opportunity to tell his story at the White House and equally excited about the opportunity to bring College Track to more students, stating, "I'm honored to be here with Troy at the White House. The focus the President and First Lady are putting on education and support programs encourages us at College Track. We're providing a strong academic and social bolster for students from eighth grade all the way through college graduation, and we're thrilled that the Obamas have thrown their support behind programs like ours."

College Track will join college and university Presidents, national foundations, individual and government representatives, and similar education non-profits from across the country at the White House event.

If you are interested in learning more about College Track, contact Camille Merritt at [email protected]. If you are interested in learning more about Teach For America, contact Takirra Winfield at [email protected].

About College Track

College Track is a national college completion program that empowers students from underserved communities to graduate from college. From the summer before 9th grade through college graduation, the 10-year program provides students with comprehensive academic support, leadership training, community service opportunities and college advising to teach them the skills needed to succeed in college and beyond. Started in 1997, College Track currently serves over 1,600 high school and college students in East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans, Colorado, and Los Angeles. Over the last 16 years, more than 90 percent of seniors have been admitted to four-year colleges with 55 percent graduating in six or more years. Eighty-five percent of students are first generation college students. For more information, visit www.collegetrack.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, more than 11,000 corps members are teaching in 48 urban and rural regions across the country. Among Teach For America's over 32,000 alumni, more than 750 are school principals and more than 175 are school system leaders. Nearly two-thirds of alumni work full-time in education today, and one third of all alumni are teachers. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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