TMA Senior Cer’cia Wallace, a first-generation college student, will earn a degree at Simmons College with the class of 2019. Taking on a double-major in International Relations and Gender Studies, Wallace aims to makes a difference in underdeveloped nations that face poverty, undermine the importance of education, and are behind on the Women’s Rights Movement.
“I don’t think I can address every global problem,” says Wallace, 18. “But if I can make a micro-difference in a nation that doesn’t value women or their right to an education or where abstract poverty is a tradition instead of what it really is: a problem that has a solution, I will feel accomplished.”
Wallace, whose current G.P.A is 3.3, learned more than academics at TMA. She credits TMA’s law-like curriculum to her appreciation for advocacy and other skills that go beyond the classroom. “I feel like people my age haven’t been exposed to advocacy or the need to stick up for yourself and others,” she said. “Meanwhile, TMA taught me this at 14, when I was just a freshman.”
Wallace was drawn to Simmons, a women’s college, because of its fitting environment that encourages students to form sisterhoods. Simmons College is miles away from Washington, DC, the place Wallace calls home, but she won’t be taking the seven-plus-hour journey to Boston alone. She is excited about having already formed a “sisterhood” with another TMA Senior who is also attending Simmons this fall.
Wallace and her fellow TMA classmate navigated the college process seamlessly with the support of TMA’s College Counseling Office. TMA’s full-time College and Alumni Programs staff is available for students, many of whom are first-generation college goers, who need help with the array of systematic procedures that go into applying for college, enrolling, and persisting throughout to graduation. If not for TMA, Wallace, like many of her peers who attend neighborhood schools, would not have access to resources that address the college enrollment process.
“At TMA, the philosophy is ‘you’re going to college. It’s not an option.’ I’m a first-generation [college student], so no one in my family could help me when I was applying for school. TMA filled that gap.”
Thurgood Marshall Academy’s faculty and staff are known for their dedication, adherence to academic rigor, and availability to students. Small class sizes ensure that all students get to know several faculty members who can guide and encourage them throughout high school and prepare them to succeed in college.
“I am going to miss my favorite teachers and the faculty that I built close relationships with,” said Wallace. “Everyone looks out for you at this school. I know once I graduate from TMA, the relationships won’t end, and I am thankful for that additional support. But at college, I’m going to have to learn how to make it on my own. TMA prepared me for that,” she ends.