Troy Simon is a New Orleans native who graduated from Sci Academy in 2012. His path to graduation was not easy. He was held back twice. He was teased by his peers for not being able to read and frequently cut school as a result.
Troy was 12 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit. His family left him to fend for himself; he was rescued after four days and spent a week in Lafayette, LA. He was then reunited with his family and relocated to Houston where Troy enrolled at Now College Prep, a KIPP school comprised of primarily Teach For America teachers. Troy’s fifth grade teacher, Sarah Bliss, a TFA corps member, helped him learn how to read. When Troy returned to New Orleans, he enrolled in Urban League College Track, a college completion non-profit that empowers students from underserved communities to graduate from college. His experience at Urban League College Track helped him focus on writing. During his time in the program, he met with Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, who read his work, “Through a Boy’s Eyes” and awarded him two full scholarships to attend the Aspen Summer Words Young Writers’ Conference and Ideas Festival. There, Troy studied with award-winning novelist and University of North Carolina Professor Randall Keenan and was published in two works developed by Urban League College Track students: Whispering Conscience and Young in America: New Orleans.
His senior year, Troy was awarded a four-year, full-ride leadership scholarship from the Posse Foundation. Troy is now a junior at Bard College where he serves as a Bard College Campus Campaign Coordinator for Teach For America and writes for the Bard Free Press. During his college career, he has held internships with Students for Education Reform and TBWA\Chiat\Day advertisement agency.
In 2014, he introduced First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House forum focused on expanding college opportunities for students. At this event, he spoke in front of college and university presidents, national foundations, individual and government representatives, and similar education non-profits from across the country. Recently, Troy was a participant in the New York Times’ “Schools for Tomorrow” event and spoke on a panel with Laurene Powell Jobs, Carlos Watson, and David Leonhardt.
Troy’s success can be attributed to many people and programs: Sci Academy, Teach For America, College Track, The Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Posse Foundation, Bard College and countless New Orleans educators.