Student’s trajectory inspires middle and high schoolers

By St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College (SPC) student Demetrius Henry recently spoke with a group of North Greenwood middle and high school graduates and their families about his experience in SPC’s FAAME program.

As the keynote speaker at the Youth Development Initiative, Inc.’s recent End-of-Year Recognition Program, Demetrius shared how the Florida African American Male Experience (FAAME) at SPC has provided him with a network of support that’s kept him on track.

“I came into college a little behind the curve,” Demetrius said. “In high school, I bombed a college level course in my senior year and didn’t know that would affect my GPA in college.”

Supported by Helios Education Foundation, FAAME offers assistance and scholarships to help students along their path from high school to degree completion. Demetrius says the peer support and the mentorship from FAAME Coordinator Ernest Gant has helped him maintain A’s in his college courses and kept him on track to transferring to Florida A & M University in January 2025, where he’ll study digital design.

“Ernest helped me navigate my classes and gave me advice when I needed it,” he said.

FAAME also provided him with networking opportunities with community leaders and business owners through events such as the Black, Brown and College Bound Summit.

“If it wasn’t for FAAME, I wouldn’t have known about the summit, and that was amazing. We had time to network and meet a lot of different people, like Common, Sugar Ray Leonard and Louis Guzman. I got a lot of business cards and a lot of advice,” said Demetrius.

At the Youth Development Initiative event, which honored the program’s high school and middle school award winners, Demetrius’s message urged all students to keep pushing and confront barriers with an unwavering determination to persevere. He candidly shared his own high school setbacks and initial uncertainty about attending college and deemed choosing SPC as the best decision of his life.

“Hurdles are going to happen, but it’s important to keep pushing, even when you fail,” he said.

Demetrius’s speech exemplified SPC’s commitment to helping those in the community gain economic mobility through training and education.

As part of this commitment, SPC’s Better Jobs, Better Lives initiative seeks to align all of its programs with in-demand careers, helping students like Demetrius transfer to 4-year degree programs or go directly into the workforce earning a living wage.

This article was originally posted here.

St. Petersburg College

is located in St. Petersburg, Florida.