OUR PEOPLE: Graduating Great Path Academy Senior Wants Students to “Take Responsibility”
Owusu Darko, the Valedictorian for the Great Path Academy Class of 2016, has some words of advice for all high school students. “Don’t blame others for your failure, take responsibility- basically, don’t make excuses for the things that you didn’t do that you should do.” Owusu is a graduating senior who is looking at UConn, Cornell, Temple, and Quinnipiac. He has spent all four of his high school years as a Great Path Academy student. He came to Great Path Academy from Kennelly. His English teacher told him about Great Path Academy, when Hartford Public Schools added the freshman class. At Kennelly, he played soccer, an outlet and support for him that continued through his high school career, as he played at Bulkeley High School.
He also has his eyes on his future- and has for quite some time. He has applied for five scholarships, and received two so far. The Hartford promise, which will provide $5,000 for four years and the Dr. Aaron Lewis scholarship, which provides him with $1,500 are two scholarships that will make his dream a reality. He has also applied for the Ron Brown Scholarship, the Greater Hartford Alliance of Black Social Workers Scholarship, and Jacob L. and Lewis Fox Scholarship. In addition, due to his standing in the Great Path Academy rankings, he will be a recipient of the UConn Presidential Scholarship if he chooses to attend UConn. Owusu, among other important figures, was honored at a gala at The Hartford Club on January 17th, 2016. He received the Dr. Aaron Lewis scholarship in the form of a large, blown-up print out of a check. He has the large check at home, as a souvenir.
To help himself to stay on course, Owusu decided to meet with his guidance counselors about twice a week during his junior and senior years. He talked to them and listened to their advice. The Guidance Department has a database of scholarships to help students to apply. He stated, “The scholarship money just goes to show that applying to the scholarships- different ones- is worth it! The worst they can say is that you don’t get it, just apply, hopefully you are going to get it. The essays that you have to write are time-consuming and the topics might be topics that you are not interested in, but you have to go through with it.” Owusu’s strategy to overcome not being interested in the essay topics consisted of thinking, “Do I want to pay a lot of student loans in my future or do I not want to pay a lot of student loans in my future?” He wants to major in Psychology and Creative Writing in college- he also writes poetry in his free time. He is also most looking forward to studying abroad in college- he wants to go to Dublin, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
Owusu’s philosophy on education is simple: “Education is a powerful tool, it can lead us all to our success. But to be successful you have to put in the work. Just because you have an education, doesn’t mean you are going to be successful, you have to implement the hard work.” His family has shaped this worldview. His parents constantly told his siblings and him, “To get farther than we ever could, you have to work hard in school.” Being at Great Path Academy also helped; he was influenced by the constant prodding of teachers and guidance to apply for scholarships and some teachers’ stories about how they wished they had applied for more scholarships. The Manchester Community College connection at Great Path Academy means that Owusu has been taking college classes- another variety of experiences that he has to draw upon as he goes off towards his future ventures. He has taken Math 138, Introduction to Nutrition, English 101, and Psychology at Manchester Community College and has taken the following articulated high school and college courses at Great Path Academy; Anatomy and Physiology, Criminal Justice, Algebra II, and College Writing. He is grateful for these experiences, and the credits that will start him off at his chosen college, “The classes helped me to prepare for college, they are more centered on you- everything is all on you, if it’s late, excuses don’t matter, it’s your responsibility. If you need help, the professors are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.” Owusu’s advice to all high school students about taking responsibility echoes throughout his discussion about college coursework.
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