The first time Kevin took the SAT, he felt so anxious that he walked out of the test, leaving it unfinished. Disappointed, he asked his mentor, Adam, what he could do. Adam encouraged Kevin to sign up to take the test again, and helped him build his confidence and focus on preparation. The second time, Kevin was ready to take on the difficult exam, but he arrived late—just a few minutes after the doors to the testing facility were locked. Kevin immediately called Adam in a panic—he missed his second chance.
Adam calmed Kevin down and encouraged him to call the testing service and explain his situation. He reassured Kevin that they would work together to reschedule the test and stay prepared. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the test again,” Kevin said. “Adam held me accountable. It wasn’t an option.”
The third testing date arrived, and so did Adam—he showed up at Kevin’s door at 6:00am, took him to a hearty breakfast, and made sure he got to the testing facility early and in a positive state of mind. “I wanted to be there and provide the extra push. I had so much faith in him,” said Adam. “That day, he told me, ‘I got this.’”
Kevin is proud to have overcome his anxiety so that he could finish the test, one of his biggest personal accomplishments. “Adam showed me that no matter what the obstacles or struggles, you just got to suck it up and stay persistent because at the end it would pay off,” said Kevin. “Now every time I struggle, I never give up. And even if I tried to give up, my mentor would not let me.”
Kevin didn’t always plan on going to college. In middle school, he was more interested in sports and his social life. But in high school, he started to turn his focus on school. During his junior year, he was matched with Adam through iMentor’s College Transition Program. “He always drilled college into my head,” Kevin says of Adam. “None of my family members went to college. He was the only person who ever really talked to me about college.”
When asked the most important thing they worked on together, they both answered “perseverance.” By Kevin’s senior year, Adam noticed new focus and follow through from him when it came to college. Kevin called Adam to ask him to accompany him to a college fair so they could explore his school options. After being accepted to several CUNY schools, Kevin decided to attend Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, and he started classes in the fall of 2013. Thinking back on their work in high school, Kevin said, “Now, I get to take these lessons on with me.”
Adam wasn’t the only one to recognize Kevin’s hard work and the strength of their relationship. In 2013, Kevin was iMentor’s first winner of the Caroline Kim Oh Scholarship, named for iMentor’s former president. This $2,000 award is given each year to one outstanding college-bound mentee who demonstrates a commitment to their education and a strong relationship with their mentor.
“When we started this journey together, I don’t know if either one of us really knew what to expect,” said Adam. “Now, I’m excited for Kevin to have the college experience and the opportunity to become the person he’s meant to be.”
Now that Kevin has moved on to college, he and Adam are looking forward to how their relationship will continue to grow in the future. “Sooner or later, I’m going to be getting on Adam and telling him what he needs to do,” Kevin said with a laugh. How does Adam feel about his mentee giving him advice? “I’m definitely looking forward to that.”