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â€œFour LU Students Team Up to Graduateâ€
L to R â€“ Bruce Palmore, IV, Tevin Jones, Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert, Terrill Jones, and Keymarian Washington PHOTO CREDITS-MIKE MULCAHYÂ
Langston, Okla. â€“ Just as Langston Universityâ€™s Football Team is winding down its impressive season, another promising team is forming on campus, and its mission is simple: to graduate from college.
Bruce Palmore, IV, twins Tevin and Terrill Jones, and Keymarian Washington make up a dynamic foursome that have been dubbed â€œThe Teamâ€ by LUâ€™s President JoAnn W. Haysbert.Â President Haysbert met Tevin Jones and learned of the â€œThe Teamsâ€ extraordinary story over lunch with a small group of students in the universityâ€™s cafeteria.
Carrying with each of them a unique story of inspiration, â€œThe Teamâ€ united with a determination to graduate from college, and to keep one another encouraged and accountable in the process.Â According to Haysbert, itâ€™s the relevancy of their story that she hopes will inspire a future generation of young men looking to pursue their dreams in the face of insurmountable odds.
â€œI am so proud of the perseverance, hope, and resilience found in these young men,â€ Haysbert said. â€œTo me, they embody the true spirit of a Langston man; and I will be here, rooting for them all the way.â€
Voyaging eastward from their homes in sunny Southern California, the members of â€œThe Teamâ€, three of which are first-generation college students, say that they wanted to escape the rough streets of Central Los Angeles, Calif., and viewed LU as a one-way ticket towards a better way of life.
The proud captain of â€œThe Teamâ€ is Palmore, the 18-year-old Computer Science major from Pasadena.Â Crediting the Black College Expo with sparking his interest in LU, Palmore says it only took one-hour and a six-way call between eight graduating members of his junior auxiliary group Sigma Beta, to turn the spark into a roaring blaze among his crew.
â€œI knew that we needed to hold each other up, just like we did in high school, if we were ever going to make it through college,â€ said Palmore.Â â€œI said to the guys, â€˜letâ€™s go ahead and attend Langston University next fall.Â The tuition is cheap; it offers all the majors we want to go into, and itâ€™s in the middle of nowhere so we donâ€™t have to worry about getting into any trouble.â€™Â I knew that if we could just get here, weâ€™d be okay.Â I was right.â€
For 18-year-old Tevin Jones, attending college alone was never a consideration.Â According to the biology major who wants to become a heart transplant surgeon, he had always envisioned going to college with his twin. Separation just wasnâ€™t an option for the duo who used to make the grueling 90-minute round trip trek from the gang- infested streets of Central Los Angeles to Pasadena to attend Blair I.B. Magnet School.
â€œI knew that I was going to college with my brother, and Bruce was an auxiliary brother from Sigma Beta.Â One day, Bruce called with a bunch of our friends on the line, and before we hung up we had all agreed that we would go to school together,â€ Tevin Jones said. â€œMy mother and grandmother thought that it was a bad idea for us to go together because they thought that we would distract each other. I was determined to make up my own mind and honor my promise to my friends; Iâ€™m glad that I did.â€
Jones says that being the first person in his family to attend college carries with it an added responsibility- a cross that he is more than happy to bear.
â€œIâ€™m proud of the fact that my brother and I are the first in our family to attend college,â€ Tevin Jones said. â€œWe carry the rest of our family on our shoulders, and I am just grateful that God trusted us with this opportunity.â€
His twin, Terrill, echoes his sentiments. A business management major, Terrill says it is his dream to return to his old neighborhood after he graduates and start a string of restaurants. With a love for cooking and an entrepreneurial spirit, Terrill is sure he has the right recipe for success.Â Â
â€œBeing a first generation college student puts a lot of pressure on me, because I donâ€™t want to be the first to try and fail,â€ he said. â€œI have my brothers with me, and with the four of us holding each up other up, I know that even during the toughest times, we will make it throughâ€¦ I want the world to remember me as a man who was determined to fulfill all of his goals in life.â€
The last to join â€œThe Teamâ€ was 19-year-old Keymarian Washington of Altadena.Â Graduating a year before the rest of the team members, Washington was struggling to get his life on track when he got a call from Bruce.Â Attending a local community college and trying to forge ahead with no support from his immediate family, Washington says when he received the call from Bruce, he was beyond discouraged.
â€œWhen I was in high school my mother would always say that I would only make it as far as community college. As much as I wanted to prove her wrong, there I was, doing the very thing that I said that Iâ€™d never be doing, and life was just really hard,â€ said Washington. â€œNo one in my family has ever gone to college and they didnâ€™t like the fact that I had dreams to do more with my life.Â Bruce called and inspired me that day; he told me that we were going to go to Oklahoma to attend Langston University and that everything was going to be okay.Â I donâ€™t know why, but I just trusted him and today Iâ€™m a computer science major, and a step closer to my dreams.â€Â
Impressed with their story, President Haysbert decided to surprise the four members of â€œThe Teamâ€ by giving them a signed copy of the New York Times best selling book, The Pact, a poignant tale of three young black men from Newark, NJ who made an agreement to support one another through medical school.
Much like the young men of The Pact, members of LUâ€™s â€œThe Teamâ€ know that they are only as strong as their support. For Washington, it is that support that sustains him through the unfamiliar and sometimes scary territory that goes along with pursuing oneâ€™s dreams.
â€œThese guys arenâ€™t just my friends, they are my family, my brothers, and I know that I wouldnâ€™t make it if it wasnâ€™t for them and their belief in me,â€ remarked Washington.