Tri-C Student Defeats the Odds by Designing His Own Success
May 12, 2016
When a foster child turns 18, they become emancipated and “age out” of the system. For Rayshawn Bacon, this is his story. A native East Clevelander, he is one of twelve children who grew up in and out of foster care and group homes. Upon his emancipation, he dropped out of high school.
Determined to not be another statistic, Rayshawn attended and graduated from Life Skills High School of Cleveland. Soon after, a tragedy occurred – he witnessed the death of his cousin. At this point, Rayshawn decided to do something different. Staring down his fate, he realized he could either go back to a life on the streets or continue his education.
New to college and not sure it was for him, Rayshawn began at Tri-C in fall 2012. College was difficult at first and took some adjustment. Most of his friends told him he would never make it. Rayshawn told himself, “Sometimes the road is going to get bumpy, but you have to keep pushing forward.”
And push forward is what he did. Rayshawn decided to major in graphic design and made the most of his time at Tri-C, signing up for tutoring and engaging with his teachers. He found new interests, joining clubs such as the Japanese Culture Club and the Philosophy Club. It was here that he blossomed. He helped organize events and used his design skills to create fliers. He found a mentor through the Black American Council and became a part of the BAC Minority Male Leadership Group. By keeping himself busy, he knew that he would have no time fall back into the trouble that lurked on the streets.
“Surround yourself with positive people and you will do positive things,” Rayshawn said.
Rayshawn is looking forward to commencement. After graduation, he will attend Baldwin Wallace University to study graphic design and entrepreneurship. His goal is to one day own his own design studio.
His advice for other students facing adversity? “If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.”