The founding class of KIPP Gaston College Prep — home of “The Pride.” Several members of the Pride of 2009 are featured in The B.A. Breakthrough. (Photo courtesy of KIPP Gaston)
Daniel Porterfield, former president of Franklin & Marshall College, now President of the Aspen Institute, is trying to en­gineer a full-blown revolution around getting first-generation students through college with a degree, a revolution on the cusp of success. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Charisma Lambert grew up in Newark, where she lost both her parents before the age of 6. Lambert graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in four years and now works in a KIPP charter school in Baltimore with Teach for America.
An epiphany in a Taco Bell parking led Nicole Hurd to start College Advising Corps. Here she poses for a photo with students headed off to college. (Photo courtesy of College Advising Corps)
Tammi Sutton and Caleb Dolan were Teach for America teachers who decided to stay in tiny Gaston, North Carolina and found their own public charter schools. (Photo courtesy of KIPP Gaston)
Members of KIPP Gaston’s Class of 2009 gather in Arlington, Virginia to plan their 10th anniversary celebration (Photo: Richard Whitmire)
“Organization is key. Like, if you’re not organized, I don’t know how you survive,” said senior Malaya Pleasant, right, pictured here with Alex Lopez at Newark’s North Star Academy. (Photo: Richard Whitmire)
KIPP Gaston, a school at the heart of The B.A. Breakthrough, was built on 27 acres of scraped-off peanut and soybean red clay fields. (Photo courtesy of KIPP Gaston)
Student Truong Nguyen at Houston’s César E. Chávez High School, where he is part of the district’s EMERGE program. (Photo: Richard Whitmire)
EMERGE was launched in 2010 by a Teach for America alum, Rick Cruz. Cruz recruited a small group of other sympathetic elementary and middle school teachers, several of them also TFA alums, and proposed a unique college counseling program. “We wanted to create a program that would mirror what private college consultants do for the wealthy, but tailor it to the specific needs of first-generation, low-income students that we had.” (Photo: Richard Whitmire)
KIPP Gaston co-founder Tammi Sutton in 2006 with students, including some members of the founding class of 2009, who were starting 10th grade. (Photo courtesy of KIPP Gaston)
Mya Jackson struggled in her first semester at Franklin & Marshall, but with targeted support her experience improved. “This semester is actually like a complete 360,” she said.
Donnell Butler oversees diversity issues at Franklin & Marshall. Butler played a key reshaping the campus under what was called the Next Generation Initiative.
Counselor Kassandra Peña with student Edwin Gonzalez at San Antonio’s Lanier High School. Lanier High School is San Antonio ISD’s highest-poverty high school, where in the past, few graduates made it to prestige colleges. (Photo: Richard Whitmire)
Queen Kwembe at UCLA’s summer transfer program for promising community college students. “One thing about being a first-generation student is that every lesson learned is learned the hardest way possible. It’s like you hit a bunch of brick walls before you realize that the door is right over there. It’s like trying to find your way in a dark room,” she said. (Photo: Richard Whitmire)