Eric Smalls wrote a letter to the President, this is his story.
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Eric Smalls. At a young age I was inspired by NASA and their expeditions to the moon. As a career I would love to build robots to explore the first earth-like planets and beyond. However, when I was three years old my mother passed away due to breast cancer. For several months my family was homeless and forced to live out of a car. With my dad doing his best to take care of my sister and I, those years were very difficult and college was just a pipe dream. As we lived paycheck to paycheck, the three of us shared two dollars a day for food. Some days, my sister and I were faced with choosing between going to school or eating that day.
For a while I feared I might never be able to achieve my dreams. But I was motivated to change my circumstance. I got back on my feet and went to live in Philadelphia with my grandmother. I started attending an engineering and science academy in North Philly. I was determined to achieve my dreams. It was largely due to your STEM initiatives that I found my calling as the President of the robotics club at my high school. I became thoroughly motivated no matter how hard life became around me.
Today, I can say that I’m well on my way to achieving my dreams and that your education initiatives are helping make it possible. Your doubling of Pell Grants have made college more affordable for students like me. This year I’ll begin my first year of college. I’m proud to say that I’m the first in my family to go to college. Currently, I’m pursuing an engineering degree in computer science and artificial intelligence at Stanford University.
As a person who overcame homelessness and now has the opportunity to pursue higher education, I want to thank you and tell the American people ‘It is possible.’ Perhaps I could not see my dreams from the backseat of a car window, but, today my dream has been made possible thanks to you. We’re moving forward in the right direction and I’m excited for the next four years, both for college and what you can do for the country.