Stacy Heading, Program director of S.E.E.D. Male Mentoring Program and Founder of Heal the City, is making sure that Trenton High School Students have a way to succeed.
“First of all,” Heading said, “without education, it’s just hard. They will have a rough life. A lot of young people want to go to college, but don’t really know how to go about going to school.”
With the help of Bishop Jenkins from E.E. Jenkins Ministries, Heading leads the program to address the need in the Trenton community to help develop and empower youth known as S.E.E.D. (Servants Endeavoring to Empower and Develop) Male Mentorship program.
“So what we do is we put them in a position with college tours and life skill classes…teaching them humility, teaching them decision making, how to stay out of trouble, and then go to college so they can better themselves and have a better future,” Heading said.
On Sunday, they did this by handing out scholarships. With the help of community leaders Heading raised about $6,000 to give to Trenton students.
“This is a great opportunity for hope, faithfulness, determination, the youth, and the S.E.E.D. Program. I wish them all the success, and we’re here for them,” Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson said. “Whether it be a community college, university, or tech school, life is about learning, and learning doesn’t stop once you finish high school. I just want them to learn that learning is just a part of life and so it takes you everywhere.”
The ceremony was held at the Lobby Club in downtown Trenton with a free meal provided by the club. Tara Burns, General Manager of the Lobby Club, explained that Heading had come in a couple of weeks ago to see if the Lobby club would be used as a possible venue to celebrate these students.
“It all kind of came together. Everybody was 100% on board because this was for a great cause. I mean, the students, today it was a special day for them. We were just happy to be a part of it,” Burns said.
The 10 students who were celebrated included: Makenzie Ivey, a Lawrenceville High School graduate going to Seton Hall University; Joy Jones, a Lawrenceville High School going to Morgan State University; Jahkai Stokes a Steinert High School graduate going to Delaware State University; Jermaine Tillery a Trenton Central High School graduate going to Post University; Edson Garcia, a Trenton Central High School graduate going to Princeton University; Kynedy Williams, a Trenton Central High School graduate going to Rowan University; Keirah Tootle, a Trenton Central High School graduate going to Norfolk State University; Irimi Sharif, a Trenton Central High School graduate going to Rutgers University; Zanobia Shaw, a Stem Civics graduate going to Drexel University; and Jalissa Jones, a Trenton Central High School graduate going to Bowie State University.
Part of the program included an inspiring speech by Reggie Walker, Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at Rider University. Those there would say it was more of a sermon as Walker preached about his trials, tribulations, and battles throughout college and life. He kept the audience engaged for 25 minutes as he spoke to the soon-to-be freshmen. After the speech he had this to say.
“For me, I would hope that they would, you know, keep God first because that has helped me throughout my entire life. I would hope that they were encouraged to stay hopeful and have faith because of a lot that these students deal with on a day-to-day basis, they’re going to face a lot of that in college. So they still have to remain committed to why they started this journey,” Walker said.
He continues, “I hope that everybody got the message of the importance of encouraging and pouring into people, sometimes you just need somebody to offer you a word of encouragement, to tell you, you can do it,” Walker said.
These scholarships hope to help bare the burden of colleges, to help students like Kynedy Wiliams, who is going to Rowan University. She is majoring in Law and Justice and minoring in American Sign Language and Theatre. She wants to become an interpreter in the courts to help people with disabilities understand the legal process.
“I feel like a lot of people in Trenton Central High School don’t get a lot of recognition,” Williams said. “Because of where we come from, like the city….they just think Trenton is a bad place…So when they see us getting attention and getting this award, they’re like, oh, these students are actually great students. We want to learn, and we want to do better.”