ESSEX — Joshua Johnson is living testament to the success of College for Every Student.
The organization recently unveiled its new headquarters, with former participants and dignitaries lauding its efforts to encourage kids in high school to pursue further education.
“The odds were stacked against me, but CFES redirected my path,” said Johnson, who is now a senior at Penn State.
He described how he made extra money by tap dancing in New York City subways.
Johnson, who demonstrated his talent to the assemblage, has been featured on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Over the last 22 years, CFES has helped make college a reality for more than 75,000 low-income, first-generation youths by raising academic aspirations and performance.
The headquarters is housed in the 6,000-square-foot back portion of the Essex Post Office building, which, over the years, was also a theater and office site.
Another College for Every Student alum Shameka Cobb is now a Cornell medical student. After she emotionally recounted her journey to success, she said: “I think of all of the lives that will change because of this opportunity.”
FROM AT RISK TO ACCLAIM
Former SUNY Plattsburgh Student Body President Angel Acosta said he came from a disadvantaged family in the Dominican Republic.
”By the time I had joined CFES, I had attended five schools in 10 neighborhoods in New York City. I had problems (of) not focusing and was considered ‘at risk’ and had no other role model.”
Acosta now serves as a program director for College for Every Student.
Rick and Karen Dalton have devoted the past 22 years toward building and guiding the organization and hope to not only greatly increase the number of students but utilize the new facility to communicate with students worldwide.
In addition to offices, the new center provides state-of-the-art meeting space for trainings and gatherings.