Jay DeDon, Stetson University

Through a wide range of experiences at local disadvantaged schools as well as studies in his major, Jay DeDon, a junior Music Education major at Stetson University, has learned firsthand the effects of poverty on educational success and college accessibility. For that reason, Jay is developing a college access program for 52 middle schools in the central Florida region. This program – designed to attract students from disadvantaged middle schools who have a passion for music performance and education – will bring young men and women to our DeLand campus for free workshops and lessons with Stetson School of Music students and faculty. Given the public school funding challenges and family-based hardships that such students face, Jay’s program will be one of the best (and only) opportunities for these youth to engage in a community that embraces music education and scholarship while nurturing their musical interests and talents. Through this exposure, these students will realize that a college education is both desirable and possible – thereby increasing the likelihood that they will pursue a college education and break the cycle of poverty to which too many of them are beholden.

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