Most of the money Kyle Morgan earned in high school, working almost full-time at McDonald’s, went to his mother. A home healthcare aide, she struggled to support six children on her own.
Kyle’s strong work ethic and sense of responsibility is supported by the safe and stable environment offered by Williamson. The trade school expanded his opportunities, he says, beyond “working two jobs in the fast-food industry trying to make ends meet.”
The family’s move to Wilmington, Delaware when he was in the 7th grade, was a relief for his mother, who had always wanted to relocate to a safer neighborhood. “We were in the middle of the action,” he says, referring to crime in his former neighborhood of Chester, Pennsylvania. Their rental home was damaged in a fire, forcing the family to move to nearby Wilmington where they lived in a motel for months before they could find a place to stay. The city had areas that were also dangerous, but Kyle says they moved to a rental house where they were able to “get a little distance” from the street crime.
Once he got settled, Kyle discovered the West End Neighborhood House, a community center where he went every day after school to play basketball. He also took advantage of their youth programs. “The thing I liked about that place is if you needed a ride home, or money for field trips, they didn’t mind helping you out.”
School district policy in Wilmington enabled Kyle to attend a suburban high school that offered him an opportunity for a better education.
It was at A.I. Dupont High School where Kyle bonded with Basketball Coach Tom Tabb. He became Kyle’s student advisor and was a big proponent of creating opportunities for inner city youth. Mr. Tabb was a male role model for Kyle. Although his father was around, he didn’t live with the family. Kyle saw and texted him when he could.
Mr. Tabb invited Kyle to join the “Men’s Professional Club.” He told me, “We have pizza, talk about jobs, learn how to tie ties. Professional stuff.”
With the support and encouragement of teachers and advisors, Kyle managed to juggle his responsibilities as a student athlete, while holding down jobs at McDonalds, Wawa and even Men’s Wearhouse, where Kyle learned about dressing with style. (At Williamson, he would come to appreciate the school’s Clothes Closet, a collection of donated men’s clothing that’s available to the students, helping them to meet the college’s strict dress code.)
In high school, Kyle became one of the highest-ranking earners in a virtual stock market that Business Teacher Charles Schneider incorporated into the curriculum. Afterwards, Kyle wrote an essay in which he created an investment scenario for the Boys & Girls Club of Wilmington. In his proposal, Kyle set up a program structure for basketball clinics to help disadvantaged youth in the community. The conception and development of the idea was “beautiful,” Mr. Schneider says. “We looked at how hard Kyle worked and knew what he would accomplish based on his work ethic.”
As Kyle refers to the influence Mr. Schneider had on him, Schneider sees it the other way around. “Kyle influenced me and my outlook.”
Kyle first heard about Williamson through Coach Tabb, who arranged for him and the group to come to Williamson and tour the trades college.
“This campus looks decent, nice, and it’s something new. I thought, why not give it a try?”
At the same time that he got accepted to Williamson, Kyle had received another scholarship offer. His advisor/coach Mr. Tabb had submitted Kyle’s investment essay to University of District of Columbia, recommending Kyle for admission to the business program. Although tuition was reduced by 50%, Kyle didn’t have the financial resources to pay for the rest. Williamson, with its full scholarship covering tuition, room, and board for three years, was the only viable option. Kyle would also become a beneficiary of the Give Something Back Foundation, a partner of Williamson’s since 2018. The organization provides college scholarships to students, like Kyle, who have faced economic hardship and other adversities.
Kyle’s adjustment to Williamson wasn’t easy. As a college freshman, he seemed to lack the confidence of an accomplished high school graduate.
“At first when I got here, I was nervous about all the rules and the things that weren’t allowed,” Kyle says. Going out for basketball, he was “scared because the guys were bigger and faster” than what he was used to. He also found it hard to adjust to the rigorous schedule and workload. He remembers struggling to complete projects, feeling he had poor time management skills.
A welcoming staff and supportive sports team, helped him to feel more comfortable and confident in shop, on the court, and even in his own dormitory.
“I’ve seen an awesome change in him,” says Dorm Manager Nadia Maranda, who has selected Kyle to assist her in the dorm. Kyle takes seriously his responsibilities as an RA. He notifies Ms. Maranda if something in the dorm needs to be fixed or replaced, retrieves students she needs to see, and checks that students have completed their detail. “He prevents them from getting disciplinary points,” she says, “because they haven’t done their work.”
“They respect him,” Ms. Maranda says. Kyle also volunteers to take over for residents that have had to go into quarantine because of COVID exposure. “I am so thankful for his time and efforts,” she says.
Kyle is now in his junior year, pursuing an associate degree in Machine Tool Technology. He is developing into a skilled tradesman, and is even gaining experience in residential management.
Unafraid to face new challenges, Kyle knows there are more opportunities ahead. At Williamson and beyond, the possibilities are limitless for this junior tradesman.
Your support makes it possible for students like Kyle to attend Williamson College of the Trades with a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, and board. You can help to prepare the next generation of Williamson Men to be respected leaders and productive members of society by Making a Gift Today.