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US Secretary of Education Visits With Minority Students

Updated: Friday, June 20 2014, 05:40 PM CDT

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Austin Community College Friday to speak with minority students about a national mentoring program.

Students from Austin and San Antonio sat around Duncan in a round table discussion to share their stories. "I used to get in trouble everyday," said 14-year-old Sergio Singleterry. "Before I entered this program I was involved with the wrong crowd," said 17-year-old Ardre Wilson.

These young men are now involved in the dropout prevention program, Communities in Schools, and it's working for them. "They've encouraged me to go ahead and graduate," said Wilson.

Duncan wants to know how programs like these can work for every young man of color. "The way I learn isn't by sitting in my office and watching this, but it's by coming out to talk to real professors, teachers and real young men," he said.

Singleterry is honored to be part of the national discussion built from President Obama's initiative My Brother's Keeper. "I felt really surprised because I know I'm smart, but I didn't think I was that smart," said Singleterry.

Mentors have helped him rise above school yard bullies, so he can stay focused in the classroom. "They would tell me to go take a break or come with them and walk around the campus for a while just until I calmed down," said Singleterry.

Duncan was thrilled to hear this, but knows challenges in the home can also create obstacles. "To me my mom was like Superwoman, because there was no man," said Wilson.

"If you can get through what you've been through, going forward things will be a lot easier for you than other folks," said Duncan.

Click here for more information on Communities in Schools (CIS).

By Deeda Payton

US Secretary of Education Visits With Minority Students

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