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From Age Three, This Promise Academy Scholar Knew She Was Going to College

Above: Shania Sanders, a junior at HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools and soon-to-be-graduate and college freshman, is on the pathway to a promising future.

Shania Sanders, a junior at HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools, has a lot to be proud of: she’s taking Advanced Placement classes, is a member of the National Honor Society, and represents her class in Student Government.

Next year, she’ll add two highlights to her impressive resume: high school graduate and student at Emory University on a full-ride scholarship.

“That’s how ready my baby is to succeed,” says Shania’s mom, Lisa McNear.

From the moment she joined Three-Year-Old Journey — our program for HCZ Promise Academy scholars who secure early enrollment in kindergarten at our top-performing charter schools — to the present day, Shania has been on a pathway to a promising future.

By enrolling your scholar in our cradle-to-career programs, you can put them on the same path as Shania — ensuring they graduate from high school, get to and through college, and build successful careers.

Keep scrolling to discover more about Lisa and Shania’s journey and how HCZ is helping Shania build a bright future.

Shania’s Pathway to Success Started Early

When Shania was as young as three, Lisa remembers her daughter coming home from HCZ programs saying she was going to go to college. Lisa has Shania’s teachers to thank for that. In Three-Year-Old Journey, and later, Harlem Gems pre-school, Shania was told again and again that, if she worked hard, there was a place she could go to achieve her dreams. That place was college.

From kindergarten all the way through high school, Lisa watched with pride as Shania worked toward that goal. She thrived with the support of caring and passionate teachers, a high-quality curriculum, and resources like free uniforms, a laptop, and chef-prepared healthy meals.

“It’s not just a job; the teachers actually care about you and your scholar,” Lisa says. “That is the kind of school you’re getting at HCZ Promise Academy.”

Shania Prepares to Succeed in College 

Now, as she transitions into her post-secondary journey, Shania has had help from our College Success Office (CSO) and Wealth Builds initiative. Through CSO, Shania received guidance on the college application process and securing financial aid. Through Wealth Builds, she learned how to manage her money — which will come in useful, as she and her classmates will each be awarded a $10,000 investment in a Wealth Builds Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF) upon high school graduation. When she’s an adult, Shania will be able to withdraw funds from her YOF for activities like buying a home or starting a business.

Lastly, to get her ready for college, Shania will participate in a Summer Exposure Opportunity. As part of the program, she will take classes at Emory University — a first-hand look at what it will be like when she attends the elite university in Atlanta, Georgia in the fall.

Shania Will Get Support to Persist through College and Build Her Career 

Even after Shania moves to Atlanta, HCZ won’t be far away. Through CSO, she will meet one-on-one with a college counselor for help with things like picking her class schedule and identifying campus resources.

Then, when she graduates from college, Wealth Builds will provide support landing her first job and building her career. The program’s Career Services team provides resume workshops, job interview practice, and connections to job opportunities.

At HCZ Promise Academy, we are proving that, by connecting our scholars with opportunities and resources, they can achieve their dreams, however they define them. For Shania, and all our scholars, those dreams start early.

“I know how special she is, but so does HCZ,” Lisa says. “That’s why Shania has the confidence to succeed and do anything and everything she wants in life.”