From Minnesota to Akron: Margaret Tulay Engages with Kenmore-Garfield
High School Students through Akron Promise’s Student Success Team
by Jeanne-Hélène Roy
Just five years ago, if you’d have mentioned Kenmore to Minnesota native
Margaret Tulay, she wouldn’t have been able to readily identify the reference –
beyond perhaps a brand of appliances sold by Sears. Since then, the University
of Akron education major slated to graduate in December has become a fixture
of Kenmore-Garfield High School (KGHS) where, through her work with Akron
Promise’s Student Success Team (SST), she regularly interacts with Kenmore’s
high schoolers, guiding them to post-secondary pathways and self-sufficiency.
Tulay moved to Akron after having kicked off her college career in Omaha, where she served as goalkeeper for the University of Nebraska women’s soccer team. After experiencing some setbacks there, Tulay, 22, whose father hails from Liberia, chose to continue her degree in Akron to experience living in a more racially diverse area as a means of more authentically connecting with her Black identity. Thanks to the University of Akron’s EX[L] Center’s experiential learning internship program, which strives to help students become locally engaged leaders, Tulay hooked up with Akron Promise two and a half years ago.
In the SST’s bi-monthly meetings with KGHS students, Tulay harnesses her natural sense of leadership to connect with the group, challenging them to identify their personal strengths and goals as well as to devise better time management strategies. Self-assured yet relaxed in her approach, Tulay devises well-crafted activities that prompt students to engage with each other, teaching them invaluable teamwork skills that they can readily transfer to their next chapter of life, whatever it may be.
Tulay relishes the opportunities Akron Promise affords her, especially at KGHS, where she’s able to make meaningful connections with the student cohort, many of whom can identify with her as a young Black woman – a role model not significantly older than they are. In the short term, Tulay hopes to work in the
Akron area, both teaching special needs children and assisting in “taking Akron Promise and making it mobile,” as she remarks, meaning that she’d like to help the non-profit expand to serve more students across the city. In a handful of years, Tulay envisions living in a townhouse in Washington, D.C., where
she can take her career aspirations to the next level, both in the classroom and in effecting change at the policy level.
Akron Promise is a non-profit organization that strives to shape and implement a community-involved culture of education in Akron. Along with other local stakeholders, Akron Promise directs students and families to appropriate opportunities, resources, and supports as it mentors Akron Public School students through high school into post-secondary pathways.
Akron Promise’s Student Success Team currently focuses on
Kenmore-Garfield high school, where it holds bi-monthly meetings, in addition to providing ACT Testing Support programs and FAFSA workshops to prepare students in applying for the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State College Scholarship.
For more information on Akron Promise and the SST, please see:
www.facebook.com/AkronPromise or www.AkronPromise.org.
Or please contact Dr. Jeanne-Hélène Roy, Executive Director at
firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 715-5598