In the Fall of 2015, my former department chair (MaryAlice) asked if I could help her grandson reach his goal of attending Massachusetts Maritime Academy. If you knew MaryAlice, by far the most outstanding and selfless woman I have ever met, you would understand why I said I would do whatever I could. I spoke with Jay and asked him to forward me a copy of his high school transcript. Jay had applied to Mass Maritime in 2014, but was not accepted. Unlike some students who give up on their dream, Jay chose to enroll in a welding program and enroll at the community college. His decision to demonstrate he had the skills and determination to succeed in a college setting was Jay’s first step toward reaching his goal. Although Jay had done well in high school, he had not taken some of the prerequisites for Mass Maritime Academy including chemistry. Jay was a good student, athlete and well respected by his teachers and peers.
After speaking with an admission representative at Mass Maritime, I learned that if Jay took chemistry, trigonometry, and received grades of C or better, he would meet the academic requirements for admission. Of course, meeting the requirements and getting accepted depends on a myriad of factors including the depth of the applicant pool.
This story has a great ending. Jay successfully passed his classes and will be attending Massachusetts Maritime this fall. So NEVER give up on your dream and do not be afraid to ask for help to achieve that dream!
Attaining My Dream- Jay
My senior year of high school, I saw most of my friends getting accepted to traditional colleges. I knew I wanted to further my education, but I had no idea what I degree I wished to pursue. I had a friend who had gone to Mass Maritime and the curriculum sounded like it would be interesting. The program would prepare me for a profession on the water that I would love. I applied, but was waitlisted. After that, I continued working and learning multiple trades. I still wanted to attend MMA, so I started taking classes at a local community college and based my class schedule on MMA’s transfer requirements. I completed my application and waited to hear back from the academy. My grandmother mentioned to her friend, Cheryl Leaver, that I was applying to MMA and she jumped right in giving me advice and talking to her contacts at MMA. Her help was huge!
Once I received word that I had been conditionally accepted, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. All I had to do was pass every class I was currently taking with a C or better. I made that my main priority and finished the semester with two A’s and a B. I couldn’t feel more proud and accomplished about becoming a student at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
From Jay's Mom:
So many kids these days sail on through school and on to college and beyond, never skipping a beat. I have two children. One did just that and the other one, needed something different. Jay was not going to college just to go. He wasn’t going to try to figure it out while in the middle of it. He wanted to go to a college that specifically lined up with a career path. He has always learned better by doing things, so when he heard about Massachusetts Maritime Academy, he decided that it was the school for him. What they teach is applied either in a lab or on their Sea Term. They will do three Sea Terms and will be learning while doing all the jobs on a ship as they cruise to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, or elsewhere. At the end of their 4th year they will take licensing exams and will finish up fully licensed by the Coast Guard ready for employment. If he wants to, he can go from there to Officers Training School and into the Navy. I know he has chosen wisely and is setting himself up for a nice future.
Not getting in on his first try was probably a good thing. He had a chance to try some different jobs and that helped him realize that he wanted MMA more. It motivated him to move in another direction and get a degree. The time is right for him. He is more mature and knows how important education is. He had to figure it out for himself and thankfully he did. I am proud of his perseverance and determination. I am also grateful for Mrs. Leaver’s help and guidance through the process.