George Bradley moved in and out of schools frequently in his young life. His mother, who worked temp jobs to support the family, took him and his brother to Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina. The constant disruption challenged George academically.
George would find stability and academic achievement in his three years at Williamson. He would also secure a career opportunity that would give him a chance to shine personally and professionally and build a solid foundation for a successful future.
In high school, George wanted to succeed. But every time he switched schools, he struggled with different curriculum and different academic standards. There were times his grades plummeted from A’s to D’s. He did well at a STEM school in Delaware County, but that would be short-lived as his family moved, once again. His grandparents, whom George looked up to, put a stop to the frequent moves – three high schools in three years. George was a legal adult by senior year and chose to live with his grandparents, separating himself from a much-loved younger brother.
George first discovered Williamson as a high school sophomore. He passed the campus when he rode the bus to his part-time job at the Acme Supermarket down the road. After reading about Williamson online, he decided to apply. He also looked into the Police Academy, figuring either place would bring much-needed discipline and stability into his life.
His interest in law enforcement was sealed once he became friends with Major Steven Gretsky, a police officer and positive role model in the Chester Police Department. They met at a high school event, “Conversation with Cops,” which encourages a healthy dialogue between law enforcement and youth in crime-ridden Chester.
At the same time George received his acceptance letter to Williamson, he heard the same news from the Police Academy. He decided on Williamson and would always appreciate knowing there were two places that wanted him.
When George first arrived at Williamson, the years of bouncing around from one school to another caught up with him. He saw that he hadn’t been taught the same things in high school that other freshmen learned. He quickly fell behind his first semester and was put on academic probation. But he got the tutoring help he needed at Williamson and never faltered again.
George drew comfort from steady relationships at Williamson. He got along well with his fellow athletes during his three years as a starting cornerback on the football team. He was well liked by his peers in the shop and the classroom.
His personality really shined through during his first of three internships, as a service technician with California Boiler. “From the beginning, they saw in George a fully capable young man. They were smitten by him,” says Margaret Kingham, Placement Director for Williamson.
They liked his light-hearted nature, Ms. Kingham adds. “It suited their company, which is so positive and upbeat. The association allowed George to believe in himself.”
George now has a full-time offer to work for the West Coast company. A valued recruit, George has talked to the CEO about the possibility of working for their sister company that is based in West Chester, but will allow him to work all over. “I want to travel the world while I’m young!”
George has learned through his experience at Williamson to “never be complacent. If I get complacent with my life, I’m only going to fall down and down and down. I’ll be in the same boat as my parents.
“I need to always be doing something to better myself.”
George wants to generate different streams of income and is considering investing in real estate and the stock market. Recently, he worked on a construction site with his father who had just gotten out of prison. Their relationship is a work in progress, “It seemed every time I leaped in, he would get sent away somewhere.” But after three years of distance, and the perspective he gained at Williamson, George considers his father “a changed person.” As part of his career plan, George hopes one day to put his father to work on maintenance and repairs on properties he acquires.
As he readies to graduate, George thinks about the many gifts, big and small, he has received from Williamson — from the chance at a successful future to a chess piece from his friend, Peter Gaglio. The 2019 graduate carried the pawn with him throughout high school and then at Williamson. “The pawn,” Peter said to him, “is always moving forward.”
This year, George volunteered to be a Chapel reader on rotation. He’s always smiling and greeting others warmly, says Williamson Chaplain Reverend Mark Specht.
“From his humble surroundings in Chester to being a senior sitting at the lunch table with visitors to the campus,” Rev. Specht says, “George is always quick to say how much he appreciates the Williamson gift.”
“He came in a boy, he leaves as a man,” says Ms. Kingham.“He has a really big personality, and that’s what I’ll remember about George…forever.”
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