Milford Boys and Girls Club opens College Readiness Center

Terry RogersEducation

by Terry Rogers



Markaysa Lee and her mother stand with her scholarship from the Boys and Girls Club

In conjunction with a College Readiness Conference held Saturday, May 14, the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club officially opened their College Readiness Center. The event offered high school students the opportunity to learn more about local colleges as well as methods to pay for college.

“We have colleges set up in the auditorium,” said Dr. Pat Smith, director of the College Awareness and Preparation Program with the Boys and Girls Club.

Wilmington University, Delaware Technical and Community College, Goldey Beacom, Delaware State College, the University of Delaware and the Air National Guard will be there to students, he said.

“In addition, we are offering workshops on College Awareness and Planning, Colleges Scholarships Database, SEED program and How to Pay for College all sponsored by Navient,” he said.,

Prior to the ribbon cutting for the new College Readiness Center, Matthew Smith, chairperson for the Parents and Guardians College Planning Scholarship committee,  presented a $1,000 scholarship to Markaysia Lee, a member of the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club.

Lee will attend Delaware State College and plans to become an athletic trainer. She is a member of the Milford High School Basketball, Field and Track as well as Women’s Lacrosse teams.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and choosing me as a recipient of this scholarship,” Lee said. “It is an opportunity to change my life as I pursue higher education. Your support is valuable as I come from a single parent household. I would like to assure you that this financial support will motivate me further to be successful in my educational journey.”

Mike Smith, senior vice president and chief human resource officer for Navient provided also spoke at the gathering, crediting his wife, Dr. Pat, for her work every day with the Boys and Girls Club.

“When we go to bed at night and wake up in the morning, we wonder how we are going to help the community,” Smith said. “In my line of work, it is an honor to be associated with a company that, in my mind, really does care about the people we serve. In the news today, there is a lot of drama about student loans, but the best part of my business is that we really do care about providing education and tools to our customers so that they reach financial success.”

He said Navient has about 450,000 people pay off their student loans every year.

“We have about 14 percent of borrowers who paid off their loans during the time when the government said you did not need to make payments nor will we charge you interest,” he said.
“I think that is great messaging.”

Smith said Navient has learned the majority of people who do not pay their students loans are those that did not finish college and are then unable to find a job that will allow them to make enough to pay off the loans. He stated that this demonstrates the need to choose majors and colleges wisely.

Dorey introduced Rep. Bryan Shupe, a Milford High School and University of Delaware graduate who served as Mayor of Milford before winning the seat in the legislature. Shupe also is CEO of Milford LIVE.

“Everyone that is here is taking a step in the right direction. And I want to encourage you to continue to take steps in the right direction even if they’re small,” Shupe said. “When I was growing up, I don’t even think that we saved for me to go to college. I don’t think based on my grades that my parents thought that I was going to go there. It wasn’t something that I was really interested in doing.”

Then he started being encouraged by others.

“One of those was a teacher of mine I will never forget named Mr. Kerns,” Shupe said. “He really encouraged me to look inside myself and do more and saw that there was something different inside of me and I know that all of you probably have someone in your life, whether that be a teacher, or it may be one of your friends or maybe a parent or maybe someone that you talk with in your life at some point. And I want you to encourage to be with those people more, hang out with those people.”

Mayor Archie Campbell said he was pleased to see former and current students in the crowd. Campbell pointed out that being a member of the Boys and Girls Club was a great way to prepare for life.

“I want you to understand that education is important,” Campbell said. “Those of you who had me in school know that I’m pretty serious about making sure you did your homework and studied. I just want to say congratulations. You have the opportunity to go through that door and hopefully take a direction to make something of your lives.”


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