SARATOGA SPRINGS – Standing out, whether it be in a crowd of scholars, or in pads and helmet on the gridiron, is the result of hard work. That is the commitment DeVaughn Berry – our Saratoga Sponsor-a-Scholar (SSAS) for the month of December – brings to the table each day. But it is enhanced with a joyful persona that is even larger. “I’m happy to see people smiling,” DeVaughn said when recalling his favorite community service activity this year.
This happened to be at the Great Pumpkin Challenge (benefitting Saratoga Bridges) where DeVaughn and other SSAS volunteers lent a hand as a component of the Scholar program. The scholars were exhorting mile markers and water dispensers that rounded out an important component of the program – giving back. DeVaughn also enjoyed volunteering at the Fall Festival’s Pumpkin Roll on Caroline Street.
But, lest you think that a Scholar’s life is just a world of pumpkins, note well that every Scholar is carrying a full course load. For DeVaughn (a Junior) – that translates into college-level courses in Advanced Placement US History (“I love it all, but my particular interest is in the [post Civil War] Reconstruction Era,” DeVaughn noted,”) as well as Child Development + Psychology, and some mega-Algebra as well.
All of which leads down a “…road that goes straight since 9th grade for me – I’m going to be an elementary school teacher.” Devaughn said straight out. With a 92 average to date, he’s well down that straight road. College visits to SUNY Geneseo, Potsdam and New Paltz are done or are scheduled soon, and he is awaiting his PSAT score.
In the meantime, he is student teaching for different grades at Division Street Elementary, and slapping on the gear for Coach Jones on the SSHS football field (for the record: look for number 74 – Right Guard and Defensive Tackle next fall). On Mentoring Monday’s (see: Post from October.) he takes advantage of his opportunities to learn from teachers and involved mentors “I do whatever is needed to get better,” he said.
Every Scholar is assigned a real-world mentor, and, during our conversation, DeVaughn expressed tremendous gratitude for his: Tom Valentine, who is a VP at a freight company. “He’s a mentor who became a great friend,” DeVaughn said. “He always makes time for me – whether it’s at lunch, dinner or shopping – or just talking about things.”
DeVaughn likes seeing people smile. Probably because he’s so good at it himself. But the smiles that come from achievement are the sunniest and most gratifying of all.
Saratoga Sponsor-a-Scholar levels the economic playing field, allowing horizons to be broadened, and future leaders to emerge regardless of financial circumstances. For more Scholarly information, visit SaratogaSponsorAScholar.org Planet Arthur is proud to have SSAS as a sponsor, and delighted to feature a future leader in our community each month.
December 4, 2017