Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College

Coming home

January 17, 2017
juan de jesus '09
De Jesus '09, on the job

After spending his early years in his Dominican grandfather's rice fields and not in school, Juan De Jesus entered sixth grade in New York City without proper preparation or English skills. Of course he did poorly and lost interest. But when a counselor from CollegeBound Initiative began mentoring him, his life turned around. His love of chess inspired him to study so he could qualify for the school chess team.

When he graduated, he swore to himself that he'd leave the Bronx and never return. He enrolled at Skidmore through its acclaimed Opportunity Program, and at Commencement 2009 he was so grateful for his professors and other mentors who helped him that he realized, "I can't live with myself if I don't go back and do the same for others."

He earned a master's in education, and today he's a special-education teacher at his old South Bronx high school. Recently he was named a Robin Hood Foundation 2016 hero [view video] and was featured in CNN Money and other media.


Related News

Mental health, the NBA, China’s social economy, parental drug use and more. A look at some of the major research contributions Skidmore students and faculty are making to our world together this summer.
Jul 18 2018

Because the first semester of college is a major transition. Happily, the Summer Advising Program offers a personalized introduction to the boundless opportunities that await first-year students at Skidmore.
Jul 13 2018

Naira Abdula comes from Mozambique, a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. At Skidmore, she’s gaining business and economics skills while raising funds to teach children to read, write, and count using interactive technology.
Jul 2 2018