Lakisha Young (Aim High Class of ‘89) remembers the day Aim High co-founders Alec Lee and Eleanor McBride came to her sixth grade classroom:

“They handed out glossy folded brochures that detailed this ‘Aim High’ program. I was immediately drawn to the words ‘enrichment,’ ‘free,’ and the array of activities available to me… the most I had even been exposed to before. I knew this was bigger than anything I had experienced, and that I had to be a part of this program.”

Lakisha applied and was accepted. She enjoyed a summer of enrichment, surrounded by a community of kids from across San Francisco. With her new friends, she wrote for the Aim High newspaper, performed dissections in science, and she took dance and capoeira classes. While she was thankful for all the new extracurriculars she had access to, Lakisha was even more thankful for the opportunities that attending Aim High had afforded her.

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Lakisha (Class of ’89)

“Aim High fed in a whole new pool of information around educational options… I walked away [from my first summer], and a whole new world had opened up to me,” she recalled.

“I learned how to take control of my educational experience.”

The result of that shift in perspective inspired Lakisha to apply to Lick-Wilmerding High School. She says that, had she not attended Aim High, she never would have attended Lick or become “A Better Chance” scholar (a program which allowed her to take Micro-Economics at UCLA for a summer).

She came away from Aim High with something more than just fond memories, but “a feeling. A magical feeling. The feeling of, ‘I can do this.’”

She went on to graduate from Occidental College. Her passion for education lead her to return to Aim High as a teacher and also to become a founding member of the KIPP Bridge Charter School in West Oakland. Earlier this year, Lakisha joined the Great Oakland Public Schools movement. She will be building a parent fellowship where she will recruit and train parents to be educational advocates for their children, much like Aim High taught her to be an advocate for her own education.   

Lakisha speaking at the 2014 Aim High Generations Gala

For more on Lakisha Young, check out this blog post:

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