Yesterday I met a prospective student who was visiting TU’s campus all the way from the island of Antigua and Barbuda. Careisha is in her final year of the IB Diploma Program at the Island Academy International School. She gave a presentation this summer at the International Baccalaureate Americas Annual Regional Conference, where she spoke about her journey from a community riddled with drugs and violence to being recommended to attend the Island Academy through Antigua’s Prime Minister.
Every year, I encounter students who awe and inspire me with their strength and perseverance students who are teenagers but have already been through more struggle and heartbreak in their lives than many of us will ever see. Students who pursue higher education, not because it is the norm or the expectation, but because it is a necessity if they are to break free from the crippling cycles that surround them.
Careisha is one of these students. I’m not going to tell you the details of her story, because it isn’t mine to tell. But I am going to thank her for visiting The University of Tulsa. She brightened up our Thursday afternoon.
Today is Careisha’s 18th birthday. It is also a holiday in Antigua, National Heroes Day. Happy Birthday, Careisha! And Happy National Heroes Day to someone who is on her way to being a hero herself.