CA: Editorial: Student’s ambition and grit can inspire all of us
Josh Salter is a prime example of what a kid with a lot of ambition and determination, along with solid parental support, can accomplish.
When Salter, 18, graduates from Middle College High this month, he will be among a handful of students here who have earned 60 college credits — the equivalent of two years of college — while still in high school.
His academic assiduousness has also earned him more than $1 million in scholarship offers from colleges across the nation. He chose Austin College in Sherman, Texas, a private liberal arts campus north of Dallas that reminds him of Rhodes College.
While his academic prowess is laudatory, his perseverance, despite a number of life hurdles that would have derailed most teens, is what makes this young man really stand out.
The North Memphis teen’s story is one that should serve as an inspiration to all of us, rich or poor, that where there is a will there is a way.
Salter is headed to college with the good wishes of a half-dozen Memphis philanthropists and mentors who read his story in The Commercial Appeal in December 2014.
Salter’s father is in prison. His mother, Monique Salter, was working two part-time jobs when Josh at 16 decided he was going to earn as many college credits as he could through Middle College High’s partnership with Christian Brothers University.
He got up at 5 a.m. to catch the bus at Jackson and Maury, headed Downtown and waited 30 minutes for the transfer to Middle College in the former Fairview Middle at the Fairgrounds. If the buses were on time, he would arrive 45 minutes before school started.
Teachers noticed him standing outside and let him inside. When the school day was over, he would catch another bus to his night job at the drive-up at Chick-fil-A on Union.
At 10 p.m., when the store closed, his grandmother picked him up in her 2003 Nissan Sentra, in time to do homework for his high school classes and the five or six classes he was taking at CBU. Most nights, he dropped in bed at midnight.
It was a daily regimen that would have overpowered a lot of high schoolers.
But his story buttresses a point and deflates a too- common stereotype about African-American families.