College Success Story: Julia and Debbie
As a young adult growing up on New York City’s Lower East Side, Julia Naomi Blue had a lot of ambition but didn’t initially envision college as part of her future. Debbie DeFord Minerva, who had been the first in her family to attend college, saw a bit of herself in Julia—and knew the teen had the smarts and determination for higher education. “Debbie helped get me to a place where education was not a backup plan, but the plan,” said Julia. “Without her, I wouldn’t have gone to college or gotten my first job.” When Julia graduated from Howard University in 2010, she followed in Debbie’s footsteps by becoming the first in her family to earn a college degree. Now, 10 years since they first met, the women have a deep friendship – and this fall, Julia began mentoring a high school student at the International High School at Lafayette in Brooklyn.