From West Oakland to Cal Berkeley: One Student's Journey
Written by Eric Steckel, CareerBridge mentor
I met Quaylin Wesley--or Quay as his friends call him--in the spring of 2016. He had recently completed his junior year at McClymonds High School (known colloquially as "Mack") in West Oakland and was about to begin a summer internship at tech giant Intel, one that Faith Network's CareerBridge program had coordinated and prepared him for. Quay had never had a job so he was really being forced out of his comfort zone. At Mack, he loaded his academic schedule with advanced placement classes and was a three-sport student athlete. However he had very few aspirations for his career. As his CareerBridge mentor, my role was to support him throughout the internship.
Over the course of the summer, Quay and I met regularly. He had an infectious smile and was very outgoing. We immediately struck up a good relationship. We discussed how he could learn about career options as well as expand his network. By the end of his time at Intel, he was excited by the opportunity to pursue a career in engineering or computer information systems, and had dreams of attending the University of California (Cal) at Berkeley. We had also formed a unique friendship and continued to meet even after the official mentoring period ended.
This past spring, Quay applied for Faith Network's Eddie Ashley College Scholarship (sponsored by the Ahlsten Foundation), awarded to students who have completed the two-year CareerBridge mentorship and internship program. I had encouraged him throughout the application process. As I sat next to him during the Faith Network gala, where the scholarship was to be awarded, I had no idea how nervous he was. Funds from the scholarship would go a long way toward his dreams of attending college. That night, Quay was one of three scholarship award winners. He was smiling from ear to ear, and I couldn't have been more proud. It was exciting to see how Faith Network had provided him support throughout his high school years. This fall, Quay achieved his dream of enrolling at Cal. It's been a long and difficult road, but Quay never doubted himself. Way to go, Quay!