Jordan Could Not Have Overcome Her Traumatic High School Experience Alone
By Eric Steckel | June 18, 2019
As I read Jordan White’s essay for the Eddie College Scholarship application, I was stunned by the traumatic experience she recounted. How could such overt racism be tolerated in an East Bay high school, where we pride ourselves on values of inclusion and community?
When this smart, athletic and brave young lady sat down before the interview panel, we were eager to hear how she had persevered. Three years ago, her fellow students hung nooses from trees and posted images on social media that racially targeted and intimidated the small population of people of color at this largely white school. Among the abhorrent images were ones that personally targeted Jordan.
“It was people that I had called my friends. It was a rough patch in my life after that, rough for my mental health,” Jordan explained, tears welling up in her eyes. “I know I’m gonna think about that for the rest of my life because it’s just so horrible.”
The traumatic experience forced her to switch high schools. It challenged her sense of self and her confidence. “I had to renew my faith in God. I had to keep praying,” she said. “It helped motivate me to always want to help people, even if people aren’t standing up for you.”
“When you get a boost of confidence…that just helps you to flourish” – Jordan, CareerBridge Student and Eddie College Scholarship Winner
Fortunately, she had a strong support system. Jordan became active in a number of organizations to push herself academically and in her community. One of those programs was CareerBridge.
The CareerBridge team helped her create a career plan and work on the details of achieving it, while encouraging her to see it through. In assistant program director Michelle Hutcherson, Jordan saw an image of herself as a successful career woman. Jordan, who aspires to a career in political journalism and politics, landed a plum internship in the BART office of general counsel. She got an up-close look at life as a practicing attorney, which helped her get a better idea of what she wanted to do.
“When you get a boost of confidence and you have a plan, and you have the right guidance, that just helps you to flourish. And that’s exactly what CareerBridge has done for me.”
Traumatic experiences like the one Jordan endured can permanently damage a person’s sense of self and their trust in other people. But thanks to your support, CareerBridge was there to give Jordan that “boost of confidence” and be a part of her healing journey. My fellow judges and I were honored to award her an Eddie College Scholarship from Children Rising at the June 1st Hope for Children Now Gala at the Oakland Rotunda. Jordan is looking forward to enrolling at Prairie View A&M in the Fall on a full academic scholarship. After struggling through traumatic adversity, Jordan has a bright future ahead of her.