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The White House Left Us Speechless

By Meital Caplan
November 1, 2016

Jazzmine Brooks and Schantal Scott are OneGoal Fellows who visited the White House for the Beating the Odds Summit.

We are attending college. We are beating the odds.

Our names are Jazzmine Brooks and Schantal Scott. We’ve come together to write this letter because as OneGoal Fellows, we had the opportunity to attend First Lady Michelle Obama’s Beating the Odds Summit at the White House this week. This event celebrated students that have overcome obstacles and hardships in the pursuit of a college degree. To say that we’re still filled with jitters of excitement is a huge understatement.

You see, this one event brought us and 127 other students from all across the nation together to celebrate our shared dream of college graduation. In the process, we realized that we had a lot of other similarities, even just between us two. We both didn’t think much about our futures before being a part of OneGoal. We both almost fainted when Michelle Obama talked to us as we got ready for a group picture. And we’re both going to start college this fall and are determined to be the first in our family to graduate.

The two of us have much in common, but it is just as important to celebrate all of the things that make us unique. Jazzmine comes from Chicago and Schantal lives in Houston. Schantal is majoring in Criminal Justice while Jazzmine is pursuing a degree in English Literature. Jazzmine is leaving her home state to go to Fisk University in Tennessee while Schantal is staying in Texas and attending Sam Houston State University to remain close to her 7-month-old son, Braylen.

The Beating the Odds Summit connected us with incredible individuals that, like us, didn’t always consider college to be an option. But it’s our differences that are going to change the world. As we each start our freshman year, we’re going to take all of the advice from the First Lady, author Wes Moore, entertainer Jidenna and others and put it into action to earn those diplomas. As a group we’re going to attend different schools, jump into many different career paths, and in turn influence a lot of different people. Who knows, maybe we’ll even run the country and host the Beating the Odds Summit ourselves one day.

So we wanted to write this letter not just to share our experience at the Beating the Odds Summit (click below to get a first-hand listen to Jazzmine’s audio diary from the event), but to also thank you for supporting us and students like us: those who dare to dream of college graduation and a better future.

Relive The Summit [Photos]

Hear Jazzmine’s story