Jeneba Koroma Speech Great Expectations 2018
Speech given by Jeneba Koroma, Salem State University student, LEAP’s College Success Program participant and MC of the night at Great Expectations 2018, LEAP for Education’s annual fundraiser.
This spring, I will be graduating from Salem State University with a chemistry major and a minor in human biology. With hard work and dedication, I am proud to say I have completed my degree in just three years. One of my recent accomplishments is discovering what I want to do with my future. It’s a great passion of mine to work in the field of gerontology and starting fall of 2018 I hope to be working towards my masters degree in Geriatric Mental Health. I am so excited to be here tonight as a host for the Great Expectations Annual Fundraiser! Let me tell you a little bit about my background.
When I was 8 years old my parents were fatally shot as innocent civilians during the Civil War in Sierra Leone, Africa. My grandma took me in, and we moved to America when I was 10 years old. Education was something I was looking forward to all my life due to the fact that I was not given the opportunity to attend school in Africa. However, School quickly became my worst nightmare because I was bullied by my peers. I did not understand why this was happening to me, when all I wanted was to make friends and receive a good education. While the bullying was going on, I surrounded myself with books as an escape from the real world. It is because of all these experiences that education is so important to me. I worked so hard for many years just to be able to step foot in school and I was not going to let anything stand in my way of accomplishing that.
Unfortunately after arriving in America my grandma suffered from a stroke leaving her paralyzed on one side of her body. We believe she had suffered from many strokes while we were in Africa but she never received proper medical care there. I became the main caregiver for my grandmother for years until she passed away on October 7, 2017. My grandmother’s condition is the main motivation behind why I want to become a geriatric mental health counselor.
Without LEAP for Education I would not be attending college and accomplishing my goals. I joined the College Success Program my junior year of high school. I honestly joined the program because I heard about the food they gave out but I got so much more than I had expected. While I was there I received SAT preparation and help identifying colleges, including several campus tours. I also received assistance from the staff with my college applications, resume, college essay, financial aid applications and most importantly scholarships. As a recipient of the well respected Christian Herter scholarship in my junior year of high school, Salem Rotary scholarships in my senior year, and generous grants from the university, I will be graduating college with little to no debt.
LEAP for Education is an amazing organization and the staff in it are one in a million. The individuals in this organization are the smartest and most persistent people I have met in my life. I will always recommend this organization to anyone because it really is life changing and I do not know where I would be right now if I did not have LEAP in my life. I walked into LEAP clueless about college and my future and came out a master on everything I need to know about college, which helped set me on the path I am now pursuing. I want to say thank you to LEAP for being there in my time of need. And a big thank you to all of you here today whose gifts of time and money have supported me and my fellow students when we needed it the most.