If it weren’t for Howard Community College’s Silas Craft Collegians Program, Randall Adams might not be in Florida as a senior, ready to graduate with his bachelor’s degree. But during a trip organized by the program to a college-focused conference for Black and Latino male students, Adams visited the University of Tampa campus and decided: This was where he was meant to be.
“The University of Tampa stood out to me because I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone and try something different outside of Maryland and I liked that it was a medium-sized school with under 10,000 students,” he says. “Had I not been in Silas Craft, I would not have thought about going to Florida.”
Now completing his final semester as a liberal studies major, Adams reflects on the “wonderful experience” he has had and is grateful for the Silas Craft Collegians for helping to propel his college career.
“This program shaped me into a person that has a lot of determination, that never gives up, and always puts my mind toward what I want to do,” Adams says.
When he had first heard of the Silas Craft Collegians from his mother, Adams wasn’t sure that the program was right for him. But with her encouragement, he applied and got in—and quickly found the value of being part of a community of determined students with extensive support from staff and faculty, as well as extra resources to help him succeed, such as mentorship, tutoring, and inspiring trips like the one to Florida.
The sense of community and “family feel” among the collegians were especially meaningful to Adams. Just months after starting at HCC and in the Silas Craft program, his grandmother passed away. The struggle to focus on school while grieving was difficult, Adams says, but his peers and staff in the program were nothing but supportive.
“The staff were understanding and told me to take time to grieve. And everyone signed a card for me, saying things like, ‘I’m here for you’ and ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’” he says. “That’s one thing I will never forget and I’ll always be grateful for.”
The program also provided valuable financial assistance, such as covering Adams’ costs for his final semester at HCC. “I went online and saw that my balance due was all zeroes,” he recalls. “Then I got a call that the program was giving me a full ride for my final semester. I was like, ‘Wow. That’s amazing. Silas Craft, thank you so much.”
The encouragement, guidance, and study tips learned from Silas Craft Collegians Program also helped Adams focus on and achieve a longstanding academic goal to achieve at least a 3.5 GPA. “Two semesters ago, at the University of Tampa, I achieved that goal,” he says.
To those planning to attend HCC, like his younger brother, Adams encourages applying to the Silas Craft Collegians Program and taking advantage of the opportunities the program provides to succeed in college and beyond. “Silas Craft will help you go a long way.”