Troy Simon, a Bard College sophomore from New Orleans, introduced first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday at an education summit at the White House with a story about his own life _ from illiterate, trouble-making 14-year-old to a hard-working teen helped by teachers and mentors.
The summit was a gathering of 80 college and university leaders and philanthropic groups that all pledged to take additional steps to open college opportunities to more low-income students.
Simon, in his speech before the first lady spoke, said that Hurricane Katrina was just one of the obstacles in his life.
In the aftermath of the storm, he and his family relocated to Houston where he enrolled at Now College Prep, a KIPP school with mostly Teach for America teachers. His fifth grade teacher helped him learn to read. When he went back to New Orleans, he said, he enrolled in Urban League College Track, a non-profit group that helps disadvantaged students graduate from college. He received a full-ride scholarship from The Posse Foundation and now is focusing on writing as an American literature major.
After he spoke, Michelle Obama said, "That’s pretty powerful stuff, and presented so eloquently."
"Troy's story reminds us all of the limitless capacity that lies within all of our young people no matter where they come from or how much money they have," she said.