Darrion Willis ’08 is currently a senior at the University of Vermont, where he is studying both English and Political Science. Outside of school, Darrion is extremely active, as he takes on a leadership role within the school’s Student Government, and is also the President of Phi Mu Delta Fraternity.
For Darrion, the greatest challenge in college has been the workload and being able to pull all-nighters when needed (he has pulled three consecutive all-nighters before)! However, Darrion takes great pride in serving as a leader for the UVM community, and one of his favorite things about college is being an advocate on behalf of the student body.
What Darrion has to say to former teachers: To Ms. Penney & Ms. Lyons: Thank you for steering me into the majors I currently hold. My field of study has taken me to places that will provide the best opportunities in life for me. I am very thankful and honored to have been taught by wonderful high school teachers that made me realize my academic potential and purpose in life.
Tamara Johnson ’10 is currently a sophomore student at Penn State University, where she plans to major in English. Tamara is involved in a number of activities, including the Student Minority and Recruitment Team, where she gives tours and sits on panels for prospective Penn State students, as well as the United Soul Ensemble.
Tamara says that the most rewarding thing about college has been learning life skills because her mother and her teachers are not there to remind her to complete homework assignments, which therefore has given her more independence and responsibility. However, she said it has been challenging to prepare for tests at Penn State. Whereas in the past she is used to studying a few days before an exam, she now has to start studying and preparing weeks before.
If Tamara were to say anything to TMA faculty and staff, it is to keep pushing students because I know that push helped me a lot and coming to college was not the shock of my life. So thanks!
Jacquelyn Patterson ’09 is currently a third-year student at Spelman College in Atlanta, where she is studying Political Science and Pre-Law, with a minor in Psychology. Jacquelyn is involved in a number of extra-curricular activities outside of school, including Jumpstart, Young Democrats of America, and the Political Science Society. As a result of her academic achievements and outstanding GPA, Jacquelyn is a member of the Spelman College Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of college, Jacquelyn responded that she has “found her voice” at Spelman. She stated that Spelman has given her motivation and inspiration to speak-up both in and outside of class, thus providing more confidence and sense of self. When asked about the most challenging part of college, Jacquelyn stated that she struggled with writing college papers during her first year. She has since learned to seek out resources on campus to help her, including the Writing Resource Center, the Library, and even friends/family back home.
Jacquelyn attributes her success to many of the teachers and staff at TMA. She thanks particularly Ms. Lyons for always pushing her and believing in her countless times, even when she had wanted to give up. She said TMA showed her “not to ever become complacent in my current state—there’s always
something higher and better in my grasp if I continue to reach.”
Demetrius Suggs ’10 is currently a sophomore at University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He is debating about whether to major in Music or Mass Communication (or both)!
Even though Demetrius has only been a college student for about a month now, he loves the sense of independence in college. He likes that he can choose his own classes, set his own schedule, and make his own decisions. He also says that he likes now having “something to miss”. Now that he is away from home, it’s nice to look back and miss DC, but also feel excited to come home to visit.
Despite the independence, Demetrius also finds it challenging to be away from home and live in a new city where it takes time to get used to things that are different, like the Connecticut bus system. But he says he loves the new environment and it pushes him to “try new things.”
What he has to say to his former teachers at TMA: “I would like to tell all of the teachers and staff at TMA a huge thank you. I can see how the things that I have learned at TMA have helped me already. In my classes, a lot of the work is easier for me, while others are struggling. All the reminders to tuck in our shirts, get our homework done, and be careful who we associate with have really paid off. Other students in college may get swept into the pressures to party on a night when they have a paper due the next morning. I see kids trying to “fit in” and be something they aren’t. With all of this, I can still see myself as a TMA warrior who knows how to make the right decisions and not be one of those kids. I am on the road to success and I thank everyone at TMA for helping me get there. If it wasn’t for you, I honestly may not even be in college.”