What Career Day Taught Me About True Success

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” 

― Booker T. Washington

If you are a working professional and have never participated in a Career Day, I encourage you to give it a try. Recently I had the privilege of participating in Career Day at the People’s Prep Charter School in Newark, New Jersey. The experience was very special to me, especially because the school is right around the corner from where I grew up

Career Day at People's Prep in Newark, NJ
Picture Courtesy of Fred Stucker Photography

In its 8th year of operation, People’s Prep already has several accomplishments: 

  • This year, People’s Prep celebrates the graduation of its first cohort from college. Many of these students are first-generation college graduates.
  • People’s Prep is Newark’s first and only independent charter school 
  • Every student is encouraged toward success with an emphasis on college readiness and community involvement. 
  • The school maintains a long-term mentoring program called Council for every student, a key part of its success thus far.

People’s Prep provides students an outlet. The influences in Newark can be overwhelmingly negative. Gun violence, drugs and corruption dominate the evening news. The public schools can sometimes breed the same violence one sees on the street

Interacting with Students

Interacting with students seeking to charter a different path at People’s Prep was encouraging though.  

For example, I met one student who was excited to attend Morehouse College in the fall. He plans to study business. His knack for business was already on full display as he grilled me with questions about stocks, assets, and mutual funds. 

I met another student who has been accepted into St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. She is exploring her interests, but spoke with a realization that the seemingly impossible is now within reach.  

I met yet another student whose goal is to qualify for the state track championship next year. He will be a senior and wants to finish high school with a bang. 

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The Common Thread

The common thread in my encounter with the students during Career Day can be summarized in one simple word: gratitude. I was grateful to meet vibrant young people in Newark, who are working toward a better future for themselves and their families. I was also grateful to see the dedication of so many teachers and counselors helping to make that possible. 

I also recently had the privilege to visit my high school to give advice to students there, check out my post on Three Powerful Life Lessons I Learned in High School.

– Led by the Book

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