Bridges Celebrates it's 25th Class
Updated: May 5
Bridges to a Brighter Future is pleased to announce its 25th class of high school students to participate in the college access program.
Established in 1997, Bridges is a nonprofit organization focused on providing high school students in Greenville County with the tools and support needed to overcome barriers, graduate from high school, and pursue their college dreams.
“This is a huge milestone for us, to welcome our 25th class of students,” said Carrie Silver, director of Bridges to a Brighter Future.
“And it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the impact Bridges has had on the hundreds of students who have completed our program and gone on to college. What began as a summer camp for underserved students has grown into a comprehensive program with multiple components and a structured curriculum leading to a 100 percent graduation rate for our students,” she added.
Bridges welcomes the following 25 rising sophomores to its 25th class:
Berea High School: Elizabeth Barnwell, Omar Diaz, Max Rodriguez-Silva
Blue Ridge High School: Brianna Blackwell, John Barnette, Faith Stroud
Braisher Middle College: Justin Slacum
Carolina High School: Nykira Jamison-Jones
Eastside High School: Edwin Ortiz-Holguin
Greenville Early College: Nehemiah Dotson
Greenville Senior High School: Lillyana Avendano
Greenville Technical Charter High School: Daira Lucas
Greer High School: Liliana Castro-Cuadrado, Dillon Dobey
JL Mann High School: My’kiyerah Jackson
Legacy Early College: Josiah Hawthorne
Mauldin High School: Alexandria Peake
Riverside High School: Josue Funes-Morales, Christina Anagnostopoulos, Isabella Lopez
Southside High School: Brianna Castillo-Miraselva
Travelers Rest High School: Curtis Wilson
Wade Hampton High School: Isaiah Calhoun, A’yanna Hawthorne
Woodmont High School: Jayla Brewer
Each year, Bridges works with the schools to identify the students in most need of the program. This year the staff received almost 100 nominations and interviewed each applicant via Zoom to identify the final class of 25 rising high school sophomores to join the multi-year program. Students are selected based on academic and leadership potential demonstrated through 9th grade, family financial need, a clean discipline record, and their willingness to overcome the major barriers in their life to work toward a college education. Once accepted, students participate in the year-round program throughout their high school career and into college for a total of seven years.
This year’s class includes 13 students who identify as female, 11 who identify as male, and one who identifies as gender-neutral. The class identifies as 44% African-American, 32% Latinx, and 6% white. Average household income for selected students is below $30,000.Twenty-one are first-generation, meaning they would be the first in their family to graduate from a four-year college.
The main elements of the Bridges program include one Saturday per month throughout the academic year for tutoring and workshops, an intensive four-week summer program held on the Furman University campus, and support to enroll and transition to college. To date, more than 430 students have completed the program, with another 100 students actively in the high school components. Many alumni have gone on to successful careers and return to work for or volunteer with Bridges.
Bridges staff, mentors, teachers and volunteers work with Bridges students during high school and into college ensuring that they are receiving positive academic and social-emotional support and the encouragement they need to stay motivated and focused on their goals. Through its programs, Bridges helps students gain confidence and discover their strengths, enabling them to overcome any financial barriers or personal circumstances in order to excel in school and stay on the path to college, career, and financial stability, breaking the cycle of poverty for future generations.
“The students we welcome into Bridges thrive and grow into amazing adults, with the love and support that comes from everyone in our Bridges family,” Silver said. “Given how many nominations we receive each year, we know there are many more students who would benefit from the life-changing experiences we provide. That’s why we make a commitment to find another social or academic support program for every student we are not able to access simply due to resources. Our goal is to help as many students as possible in some capacity.”
If you know a 2021-22 Greenville high school freshman who would benefit from the Bridges to a Brighter Future program, contact the school’s counselor. Bridges accepts nominations for the upcoming school year from school counselors, and nominated students complete an application expressing their desire to participate.
There are opportunities to support Bridges through financial donations to assist with supplies and students’ needs, as well as serving as a mentor or volunteer during the Bridges Foundations summer program or Saturday College tutoring and enrichment activities. Contact Carrie Silver at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about volunteer, partnership and giving opportunities. For more information about Bridges, its programs and success rates, please visit www.bridgestoabrighterfuture.org.