Hometown Heroes: Pathways to Success Uplifts High School Students
Episode Date: February 8, 2018
(LEWES, Del.) - A game-changing school program impacts the lives of Sussex County students in the most incredible ways.
Truth can be found in the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child.” But what about 20 or 50 or hundreds of children who need encouragement when they’re not at home?
Pathways to Success, an in-school and afterschool nonprofit program founded by former financier Fay Blake, provides those students with an army of support.
William Waters teaches the Pathways Homeroom at Cape Henlopen High School every morning offering students words of wisdom, advice and motivation to begin their school day.
“Every morning at 9:10 a.m., the Pathways Homeroom starts. We usually start with our motto, ‘striving toward optimum performance.’ When they come in the morning, I know they’re not in the best of moods, so our conversations are really about getting them going for the day,” said Waters, who is considered a trusted adviser and friend among many of his students.
“We inform, we educate, and we empower the kids. And that’s what Pathways to Success does. We want to be there for these kids.”
A team effort among Pathways staff makes the difference between a student’s bright future and uncertainty.
Sarah Gilmour works closely with the students and the community as the organization’s outreach coordinator.
“I cannot tell you the number of kids that we’ve helped just by caring for them. Kids trying to commit suicide. Kids who are homeless. There are so many stories like that,” said Glimour.
“And they have Pathways there. Pathways is there for them.”
The homeroom is a course unlike any other changing students lives in as little as 30 minutes. Pathways staff are working to expand the program beyond its current schools, Sussex Tech, Seaford High School and Cape Henlopen High School.
“Homeroom is everything,” said Pathways student Shane Brittingham, who credits instructors like Mr. Waters with his success.
“It’s the best way to start your morning with words of advice from Mr. Waters and Coach Rushton. They really help us with everyday life.”
Taylor Morgan, a senior in the Pathways homeroom, agrees.
“A lot of stuff that maybe your parents might not answer for you, you can go to him or the Pathways homeroom and seek answers there. So it’s a lot of real life stuff that other teachers don’t teach you,” Morgan said.
To Mr. Waters, it’s important to reach every student in the homeroom.
“You may not have a father but there’s people who care. To make sure that they know they’re not alone in anything that they may be going through, whether it’s at home, or school or on the job,” Waters said.
With a 98 percent graduation rate, Pathways to Success delivers on that promise.
“It’s been very rewarding and I love what I do because of what I can bring to the kids. I put all of what i am into this homeroom.”
Pathways relies heavily on financial support and donations are needed so that this program can expand across the county to continue uplifting students in need.
This, among so many other reasons, is why Pathways to Success is one of WRDE’s Hometown Heroes.