Jayden Thornton’s biggest goal as a student at Howard High School was simply to finish. He didn’t consider himself to be a stellar student, so the idea of moving on to college was not one he had put much thought into. Then an academic advisor from Howard Community College (HCC) introduced Jayden to the Silas Craft Collegians Program, a unique cohort program designed to help students explore and maximize their true academic potential. It offered coaching, tutoring and study groups. Leadership development, service learning and networking opportunities were part of the mix, as well as a scholarship, to make the college experience more affordable.
Suddenly, Jayden began thinking about his future and the opportunities that lay ahead, in a new light.
“The more I learned about more the Silas Craft Program, the more I became convinced it was exactly what I needed to get on track, stay on track and be successful as a college student,” said Jayden. “I especially liked that I would be part of a cohort. I knew it would be a great way to meet a new circle of friends with similar interests and goals.”
The program also had appeal from a financial standpoint. Figuring out how to pay for college was a challenge for Jayden, so the scholarship offered to Silas Craft Collegians helped solidify his decision to enroll at HCC.
“A big part of the reason I decided to go to a community college is because it’s much more affordable than the tuition and expenses at a four-year university,” said Jayden. “The Silas Craft scholarship was appreciated so much because it meant I could some money in my pocket for books, class supplies and gas to get back and forth to school and work.”
Stepping onto the HCC campus as a new student during the Fall 2019 semester, Jayden quickly realized that continuing his education was the right decision. For the first time in his life, he enjoyed being in the classroom. He gained a newfound appreciation for the importance of time management and organizational skills. And at times when he found himself struggling to get through a complex project or assignment, he took advantage of the resources available to him at HCC.
“You go into a study hall looking for help, and it’s there,” said Jayden. “Other students from the class are there to figure out problems together. The teachers come in to help. Students who took the class during prior semesters are sometimes there to lend a hand. It’s made all the difference in the world for me.”
An avid sports fan and athlete, Jayden’s experience so far at HCC has inspired him to begin thinking about sports medicine as a potential career path. He also hopes to someday participate in the Silas Craft Program’s study abroad experience.
“I’ve only been at HCC for a short time, but already, I am broadening my horizons,” said Jayden. “I am waking up every day feeling joyful because I know I am in a place where I can grow and find what makes me happy. I’m not here because I have to be. I am here because I want to be.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.