Despite excelling in high school, Darius White, ’11, MA ’12, was skeptical about going to college. Growing up in a working-class neighborhood of Dallas, White probably wouldn't even have applied to college, he recalls, were it not for a counselor and his basketball coach.
Once he did apply, he was accepted to nine top-tier universities. “I’m grateful for the people who encouraged me to pursue opportunities that I didn’t even know I had,” White says.
However, that left him with a new problem: could he afford college? Financial aid—including scholarship support from The Stanford Fund—enabled him to say yes to Stanford.
White’s financial aid package, made possible by the generosity of Stanford Fund donors, also influenced a key choice he made after graduating.
As a student, White found a personal and academic home at the East Palo Alto Stanford Academy, a program of the Haas Center for Public Service. That community of learners opened his mind and his heart, he says. Although he received a lucrative job offer from a tech company, he chose to earn a master’s degree at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education instead.
The option to attend graduate school was only feasible because White hadn’t needed to borrow heavily as an undergrad.
“Because Stanford donors helped me complete four years with almost no student-loan debt, I was in a position to invest in my passion for teaching.”
Today, Darius teaches 7th grade English at a charter school in the East Bay, where he reminds his students that they, too, can make a difference in the world if they connect with supportive communities.