Name: Verishia N. Coaxum
School: College of Liberal Arts
Home town: Philadelphia, Pa.
Why I chose Temple: "I grew up only a few blocks away from campus on Cecil B. Moore. I always knew I wanted to go to Temple. My high school guidance counselor really pushed the affordability, but it was also the reputation, the location and the diversity. The tour left me with a good impression. There was more to campus than I expected — the construction, the improvements.
"The Temple 20/20 Scholarship meant a lot to me. It really sealed the deal. I found out about it from my guidance counselor. It's a scholarship for students who live in North Philadelphia region in the Zip Codes that surround Temple's campus. The 20/20 Scholarship has been more than just money toward my tuition. It made it possible for me to live on campus for a year in White Hall in the Leadership Living Learning Community. That was important. I learned so much by living on campus. You have to manage your time. You have to learn how to get along with others and how to communicate. It helped me with my networking skills, resume building. It's helped me to grow as a person."
Transformative moment: "Every week day from 3 to 6 p.m., I tutor third and fourth grade students, mostly third grade girls, at Meade Elementary School at 18th and Cecil B. Moore for the Women's Christian Alliance. It's only a few blocks from where I live. I teach math, reading, literacy. We help them see that learning is fun. Everyone needs hope and a mentor — someone to look up to.
"These are people who grew up in my community. It's important for them to see someone who's like them. I like it because in order to see the change I want to see, I have to give back.
"The community needs to see that higher education is important. I feel like people don't have positive role models they can see who are telling them that they can do it — that they can go to college. My students know I go to Temple. I talk about Temple with the kids all the time. They see me in my Temple hoodie with my Temple pride, and they say, 'I want to go there too, like you.' That makes me happy."