Goddard Riverside Community Center is thrilled to send two terrific students to Michelle Obama’s Beating the Odds Summit in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Sara Lanclos and Krystalle Lyons will join just 140 or so other students from around the country at this day-long event celebrating youth who have “overcome substantial obstacles to persist through high school and make it to college.”
Krystalle and Sara are outstanding members of our Options College Access Program, which helps young people get into – and succeed in – higher education.
Sara faced some turbulence early in life; by her eighth birthday she had already lived in several countries. Reflecting on her own hardships, she has vowed to always treat others with kindness. A natural leader, she greatly impressed staff at Goddard Riverside’s Star Learning Center as a volunteer tutor and at the Options Center, where she shined as an intern and peer leader of a new student group to advocate for policies that support immigrant DREAMers. She will be starting at her first-choice school this fall: Barnard College.
Krystalle, too, has moved around a lot, including some time spent in New York City shelters. In June, she graduated from the rigorous pre-med program at Brooklyn Technical High School. Besides excelling at her own schoolwork, she plays a lead role in education for her whole family. Krystalle is responsible for making sure her younger siblings complete their homework and have everything they need in their backpacks for the next day. She would tutor her teenaged sisters at night and drop two of her younger siblings off at school each morning before beginning her 90-minute journey to Brooklyn Tech. Krystalle plans to study Psychology at SUNY Stony Brook, where she has won a merit scholarship.
“Sara and Krystalle will be the first in their families to attend college. They inspire us with their humility and their drive,” said Options Center Director Lily Morgan Owen. “It is an honor to be supporting them to achieve their college ambitions. They absolutely belong at a White House Summit. They are future leaders who have already helped so many other young people as tutors, mentors and leaders.”
Students at the summit will learn tools and strategies for college success. They’ll participate in workshops and panels featuring the First Lady, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Google’s Jaime Casap, and others. They’ll also be treated to a performance by the rapper Wale.
The summit is part of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which aims to inspire every student to seek education beyond the high school level.
Photo: Krystalle Lyons and Sara Lanclos prepare to board the train to Washington on Wednesday.