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  • Julie Satterwhite

Hollins Bound

Naiojha Stewart on Graduation Day

Naiojha Stewart, our only senior this year, is the 2021 PCC Pathways for Youth graduate. She started with us in 3rd grade and has accomplished a lot along the way to graduation. Naiojha did not actually plan to go to college and even balked at going into Honors classes in 5th grade. With the encouragement of her Pathways Elementary Coordinator, she agreed to give the Honors track a try. Ever since then she has soared. Her interests are choir and piano, which she will continue at Hollins University. She is even eligible to get private piano classes.

During Naiojha’s senior year it suddenly hit her that she wanted more than “just a job” in life; she wanted a career, and that led her to start her college pursuit on a fast track. With the help and encouragement of her Pathways High School Coordinator, Naiojha applied to VA Western, Radford, and Hollins. She was accepted at all three. After touring Hollins, she fell in love with the campus and we are all very excited and proud of her decision to attend. She received a full scholarship and is currently considering a career in Social Work but is open to other possibilities.

In reminiscing about her nine years growing up at PCC, Naiojha feels she has learned problem-solving skills, matured, made friends, (and lost some but that is a learning experience too).

Naiojha told us that if it had not been for PCC, she knows she would not have gone into the Honors program, earned her Advanced Diploma, or even considered college. She is currently taking our Bridges Out of Poverty Getting Ahead Class, an 8-week course that helps one develop the resources needed to “get ahead” in life.

Naiojha’s mom and dad, also Getting Ahead graduates, are very supportive of their daughter. Mom credits the Pathways for Youth program with helping Naiojha to mature, stay grounded and focused on school. She is very grateful for the “pushes” that she, too, received from us in helping her raise Naiojha.

The Pathways Staff is extremely proud of the independent, strong young woman Naiojha has become. We wish the best as she begins college.

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