Punctuation and Support Make College Possible
Quesar arrived at CV after fifteen years of abuse, neglect, and rejection. He was angry at the world, rightfully so, but he was most angry with himself. Prone to explosive rages of violence and fury, he felt that somehow he deserved the years of violence and abuse he’d endured.
CV was a fresh beginning for Quesar. He was in a new state, far away from his troubled past. He threw himself whole-heartedly into the track team, dog training program, and his academics. He was determined to make a better life for himself and willing to work hard for success. Quesar was paired with a tutor, David Schwartz, a retired English teacher and long-time CV volunteer, Trustee, and member of the School Board.
“Like so many of the boys at CV, Quesar had been all but abandoned by our educational system and by society as a whole,” David explained.
At their first meeting, David brought a poem, Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden, which he often assigns to gage his new students. “What do you think the author is feeling?” David asked his usual question. After a long pause, Quesar replied, “Regret.” David remembers thinking “Wow, he’s good.”
David worked with Quesar for more than a year. Quesar’s technical writing ability improved, culminating in a brilliant essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. Quesar’s determination eventually got him accepted into a foster home. His senior year of high school was the first full year he had ever completed without switching schools.
Quesar is now attending SUNY Cobleskill on a scholarship from a great organization called Of Home, Family, and Future Inc. “That he has been able to overcome these challenges and enter a four year SUNY college is a testament to the extraordinary person he is,” David said.
Eager to reconnect, they met for dinner during Quesar’s Fall Break. Quesar reported that he was doing well in five courses. Pushing his menu aside, Quesar pulled out his laptop and proudly showed David his most recent English paper. David read a particularly profound sentence aloud and said, “You have always been gifted in your ability to turn a phrase.” Beaming ear to ear, Quesar said, “I had a really good teacher.”
Despite his success in school, Quesar continues to struggle with demons from his past and admits, “I’m having a hard time. College is lonely, but knowing I have your support makes me feel better.”
At the end of his evening with David, Quesar said, “Thank you for the wonderful time together. You made me feel as if I could find my true self again. You reminded me that I do have people who care so much about me.”