Troy Simon, Bard College

Featured Scholar

Winter 2014

In January, Posse Scholar Troy Simon received a phone call that most people only dream of. He was invited by the White House to introduce First Lady Michelle Obama at the College Opportunity Summit and share with a national audience how he overcame illiteracy to receive a Posse Scholarship to attend Bard College.

“I was speaking not just on my behalf, but on behalf of every student in America,” says Troy, who is a sophomore. “To be a part of the Obamas’ vision is an amazing opportunity. Education is really important and we need people to invest in education more.”

While growing up in New Orleans, Troy was held back twice in school and could not read until he was 14 years old. His family struggled financially and, to earn money, Troy and his cousin tap danced in the streets of the French Quarter neighborhood. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced Troy and his family to temporarily relocate to Houston, Texas. After returning to New Orleans, he was ready to change his life.

With an incredible amount of determination and support from teachers and community organizations, Troy transformed himself into a hardworking student with the grades to prove it. His younger siblings are following suit.

“I’m the oldest of four and I wanted to change the way our family viewed education,” says Troy. “They didn’t understand how education can open up many doors. They see it now.”

Troy was eager to be selected as a Posse Scholar, knowing that the support system of a Posse would push him to succeed.

“I go to college with nine other amazing students who are leaders, who motivate me and teach me, who have diverse perspectives and who can open my mind,” says Troy. “My experience has been enriching at Bard.”

Majoring in American literature, Troy plans to eventually study education and creative writing in graduate school.