Listen to what happened in Harlem in 1980. A man by the name of Eugene Lang, a self-made multi-millionaire, stood before a group of 61 sixth graders graduating from elementary school. He had been asked to come and speak to them about how he had once sat in the same auditorium where they were almost fifty years earlier and that they too could achieve what he had. But before he got up to speak, he realized that his speech was nothing short of balderdash. Most of these students were Hispanic or African American and lived well below the poverty line. The drop out rate at the high school that many of them would be attending was astronomical. So the likelihood of any of these students being able to reproduce his success was nothing short of impossible. Instead of speaking is quasi-inspirational message that morning, he stood before them to say that he was setting aside $2,000 for each of them to go to college and for every consecutive year that they stayed in school he would increase that amount.
Five years later, 52 of those 61 where in the 11th grade and were meeting with Mr. Lang to discuss where they were going to attend college. You see, many of these kids had written off the chance to go to college from an early age because they knew that their parent could not afford it. They had no hope of going to college, so why even try to do well in high school? But, Mr. Lang had given them hope. He had made a way where there has been none.