Simmons College pilot project paves educational path for disadvantaged youth


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 5:56 PM

(WHAS11) -- Simmons College unveiled a pilot program Tuesday that will send young people from the city's poorest zip codes down the educational path of a lifetime. 

Twenty-five bright young men and women stood proud Tuesday, applauded for being the inaugural  Simmons Scholars class .

22-year-old Charlotte Hazelwood says money and lack of support kept her from going to college.

"For me it's a humbleness that I am allowed the opportunity," said Charlotte Hazelwood.  "I am very grateful because it could have been anybody else . I'm glad that I get the chance to move forward."

Jamaal Pickens is another scholar. He says as young people, they are bombarded by negative images and dreams being dashed. He says financial barriers can often be the greatest obstacles

"When the need met the means, it was a miracle sent only from God," said Jamaal Pickens.  "Cause I knew that God gave me this opportunity so I had to jump at it cause I didn't know if it would ever come again."

This pilot project is in conjunction with the University of Louisville JCTS, Spaulding and Campbellsville College. Students get a two-year scholarship and live for free at Spaulding. They earn credit toward completing their bachelor's at U of L.

President of the University  of Louisville Dr. James Ramsey says he he proud that U of L is part of this partnership.

"There have been people in our community that have been left behind and it's all of our jobs to work to make sure that every child in this community gets an education," says Dr James Ramsey, University of Louisville President.

It's a chance these kids may have otherwise not had,  it's a chance to do better.

"You can do it through hard work. Forget welfare, you can fare well through education and discipline and hard work," said Simmons College President Dr. Kevin Cosby.  "This may be the first class but likely not the last . Simmons is already working to gather funding for a new class beginning next school year .

For more information on the program and find out how to become involved go to