Oakland high school students beat the odds

June 8, 2009 8:42:10 PM PDT
It's high school graduation season, and in Oakland a ceremony was held to honor a unique group of grads who are college bound, thanks to the financial investment of a local foundation.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

Ralston Earle and Malcolm Gattis are smiling, not just because their high school days are over, but because a new adventure is on the horizon. They have beaten the odds.

"A lot of people get caught up in the street life, gangs, drugs violence -- that kind of stuff. For me, it was I'm going to college, I don't want to be a part of that stuff," said Gattis.

These teenagers have benefited from a $500,000 investment of a San Francisco-based initiative, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation.

"For a long time I've been very passionate about civil rights, racial justice and social justice causes. I really think it's an indication of our society's values," said Freada Kapor Klein from the Mitchell Kapor Foundation.

The foundation has given grants to 11 organizations with proven track records of motivating and mentoring young black men from all over the Bay Area.

The program began just last year. Now in the inaugural group of graduating seniors, 50 are heading to college in the fall.

"I can also show other young people that you can do anything if you put your mind to it," said Earle.

A reception and ceremony were held to honor the grads. Mitchell and Freada Kapor have already committed another $500,000 to change more lives through education.

"Why would a white couple be interested in this? And I think the real question is why aren't more white couples and individuals who have the means involved in this effort," said Kapor Klein.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments