News

Story of a Graduate

09.15.2011

Martha’s Table has been featured on the Huffington Post DC’s launch page!  Please keep your eye on the HuffPost, we are excited to announce that we have partnered with them and will be contributing blogs monthly. 

Our first blog, “Back to School in the Nationa’s Capital” was written by our President, Mr. Lindsey Buss.  It highlights the challenges faced by DC high school graduates and, in particular, Martha’s Table seniors, as they focus on continuing their education, whether it is college, university, technical or trade school. 

Lindsey’s “Back to School in the Nation’s Capital” blog focuses on one Martha’s Table Teen Program alum, Mohamed Diop.  Read the full Huffington Post blog here.  Recently, Tim Jones, the director of the Teen Program, wrote about Mohamed’s experiences in going off to Boston College. 

Mohamed is a freshman at Boston College and a graduate of our Martha’s Table teen program.  He graduated with honors from McKinley Technical High School in Washington DC.  He received a partial scholarship to attend Boston College where he will begin his studies towards a career in medicine. 

Mohamed spoke to Martha’s Table teen program staff the day before he left to go to school.  He talked about how unprepared he felt at the freshman orientation earlier in the summer.  When Mohamed visited the campus he had several opportunities to speak with his fellow classmates.  Although everyone was friendly he walked away with some alarming revelations about himself and his education.  One example was the academic disparities in expectations around the SAT and various AP tests.  Mohamed said that many of the students that he spoke with had a minimum of a 2,000 on the SAT whereas at his school the highest score was an 1,800.  On the AP exams, Mohamed felt that a score of 3 was good based on the response received from his school, where his new collegiate classmates regarded a 3 as a failing score or a score that one would achieve with little preparation.

This revelation led Mohamed to recall a conversation he and his best friend had with his science teacher.  He told them, once they graduated from high school they would have their eyes opened by the real world.  Mohamed and his best friend, who is a freshman at NYU, spent the remainder of the summer preparing themselves of various math and science concepts on www.kahnacademy.com

Mohamed also came by Martha’s Table and spoke with the staff about the culture shock around some of the social settings at school, such as dinners with formal place settings.  We explained that these issues were just different experiences that lay waiting for him as he ventured into his new world. 

The gap that existed based on having the motivation but not the proper preparation to succeed was one that Mohamed and his friend worked diligently to close.  Mohamed has been a participant at Martha’s Table for 2 ½ years and in his own words he says, “Without Martha’s Table, I don’t know where I would be.”  He reflects on some of his classmates at Boston College and smiles.  He says he is thankful that he has something that many of them do not, which is Martha’s Table supporting him every step of the way.  There is an alumnus of Boston College who is a Director at Martha’s Table: he connected Mohamed with someone at the school to just speak to.  Mohamed said that the contact at Boston College has already proven to be extremely helpful.  Mohamed wishes that his high school classmates will take the time to prepare for the real academic rigor of college that most high schools don’t provide.  He wishes that all of his classmates could have a support system like the one he has at Martha’s Table.