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Alumni

Alumni Spotlight: Asia Leath
 
She wrote a novel while still in high school and was valedictorian of the class of 2014, but Asia Leath stumbled a bit when she got to college. "It's been rough the whole way," Leath said. "My first semester I didn't do my best. It was a hard transition from high school to college, but I finally got it together and I've been working my way back."
 
Now, halfway through her junior year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Leath has brought her GPA up to 3.84 and hopes to eventually graduate magna cum laude. Majoring in communication studies and minoring in business, Leath is determined to succeed despite her initial setbacks. "It was hard having to be responsible for myself, stay focused, handle my own finances, and discover what I wanted. But I like that I've developed more independence."
 
In addition to taking tough classes, Leath volunteered last semester at Greensboro Urban Ministry, helping in the food pantry, and worked as an intern last summer for Accenture in its federal services department. "That was a really good experience," she recalled. Her project involved working to help private sector companies answer President Obama's call to action to aid refugees. "I had to do a lot of research on private sector companies and nongovernmental organizations to see how they could work together." Leath found that she enjoyed the challenging, unpredictable nature of the work. "There were a lot of challenges and work I didn't think I could do, but I did it. It was never boring, always interesting." She recently received an offer to return to Accenture this summer for another internship, which could possibly lead to a full-time job offer after graduation.
 
"Coming from at one point not wanting to go to college to having career goals," Leath reflected, "I like how I've grown since high school. People at IDEA always told me I could do it. They were always behind me and pushed me to do better. Having all those people to support you emotionally keeps you in a good place. That's how I handled all those challenges when I started college."
 
Between now and graduation, Leath aspires to remain on the Chancellor's List, join the communications honor society, and get her first book published. She's writing the sequel now. She said she hasn't planned out the whole book yet, but just writes as she's inspired. As her characters' stories unfold, so does Asia Leath's. 
Class of 2015 Alum Jabari Young Earns Dean's List Honors
 
Shout out to IDEA class of 2015 alum Jabari Young, who made the Dean's List at Shenandoah both semesters of 2016, earning a 3.65 GPA. Jabari is one of only 27 students in The Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School Of Business at Shenandoah University to receive this honor and one of only three Black students to make the Dean's list. Jabari is a true definition of a student-athlete.
 
Alumni Spotlight: Tyrone Crossland, class of 2012
 

October 1, 2013 -- Only a year after graduating from IDEA PCS, Tyrone Crossland has proven his ability to pursue a practical career and his passion for fashion by becoming an apprentice electrician and launching his own line of clothing—Royale Lifestyle. Crossland has also been accepted at Clark Atlanta University for admission in Fall 2014.

Both of Crossland’s career paths were born during his four years at IDEA.

As a sophomore, Crossland took electrical housewiring as an elective. Through that course, he was connected with Truland Systems, where he interned each summer. Truland was so impressed with Crossland’s ability and dedication that the company offered him a job immediately upon graduation. He has joined the electrical union as an apprentice, which means he works on job sites with experienced electricians and spends one day a week in the classroom learning advanced electrical skills. He is currently in his first year of the five-year apprenticeship, but has already earned certifications and licenses that allow him to work 40 hours per week. Truland pays for Crossland’s tools, books, and professional classes.

“This is a great field for anyone who’s hands-on,” Crossland said. He enjoys visualizing where wires and cables will go, as well as the challenge of using math skills he learned in high school, including algebra and geometry, to make calculations. “Everything you do here includes math,” he said. “I wasn’t the best at it in high school but I had to become proficient to do this job well.” Crossland had to pass reading and math tests in order to become an apprentice. He appreciates the growth opportunities in the electrical union, where the next step after apprentice is journeyman, which pays $40 per hour. The master electrician level earns even more.

As a freshman, Crossland studied graphic design, which sparked his interest in designing his own clothes. “I love shoes,” he explained. “Any Nike or Jordan shoes. I couldn’t find a shirt I wanted to go with them. So I started buying blank shirts and putting my own designs on them to go with the shoes. My friends starting asking where to buy them, so I decided to start selling them.” Crossland has taught himself how to be an entrepreneur, working with manufacturers, learning about copyright, and becoming social media savvy to market his shirts. His designs have appeared in magazines and have been worn by musicians and singers during their shows.

IDEA is proud of alumnus Tyrone Crossland and his ambitious endeavors.
IDEA Alum Quincy French Commissioned into USMC
 
Summer 2016--The IDEA family, including JROTC instructors Major Lewis and Sergeant Bee, celebrated the commissioning of class of 2012 graduate Quincy French into the United States Marine Corps. Second Lieutenant French is now in training at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Congratulations to Second Lieutenant French!

Class of 2007 Valedictorian Charles Flowers Certifies Sgt. Bee for Duty

IDEA JROTC instructor Sgt. Bee recently traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky Cadet Command School for recertification. He was assigned a soldier from US Army Military Intelligence to conduct his background investigation for clearance. It was the soldier’s first day on the job at Fort Knox after reporting for duty from Hawaii. Sgt. Bee quickly realized that the soldier was Specialist Charles Flowers, valedictorian of the IDEA class of 2007 and former executive officer of IDEA’s JROTC unit. Spec. Flowers was nominated for the Cadet Command Hall of Fame, earned his degree in engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and plans to attend Officer Candidate School. “Flowers is a wonderful example of how to be prepared for post-secondary opportunities and becoming a productive citizen who contributes to his community,” said IDEA JROTC instructor Maj. Terrence Lewis.

Class of 2015 Cadets Assisted with National Guard Awards Ceremony
 
December 2016--At a recent National Guard Awards Ceremony, Maj. Lewis and Sgt. Bee encountered IDEA alumni and former JROTC cadets Gradella Brown and Alexis Williams, both working with the National Guard. Williams will begin training as a dental assistant in May.
If you're an idea graduate, we'd love to hear your story. Please contact Dean Briscoe at lbriscoe@ideapcs.org