Meet the Founding Fellows from Next Level NOLA

Like many high school seniors faced with unprecedented uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic, Marco Garcia approached graduation with apprehension. "At the end of April, it was very stressful. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go," Marco recalls. "I got a call from my high school advisor telling me about this new program called Next Level NOLA." Kearra Jackson shared his concerns: "In high school, I was really lost. I didn’t know where I was going to be or how to plan on it. When I came across NLN, I had a little more faith when I was reading about everything they can help me with." Marco and Kearra are now taking college courses through NLN, as they prepare to pursue their long-term goals of studying engineering and social work.

Their peers, Christian and Kathlyn, are similarly relieved to have found Next Level NOLA, each for their own reasons. Kathlyn Jones is looking to enroll in her dream college next year: "Next Level NOLA is great for students in a category like I am -- I know what I want to do. I want to go to a four year college, but I didn't get a chance to go to the college of my choice last year with my ACT score." With the help of NLN's targeted ACT tutoring, Kathlyn plans to increase her chances at her top colleges. Christian Keasley, on the other hand, is motivated by the career preparation Next Level NOLA offers: "I want to get my career started as an X-Ray Technician. The projects that I am doing [at NLN] will help me get ready for all kinds of scenarios that could come up in the health field."

Through Next Level NOLA, each fellow can pursue their personalized goals with the help of dedicated success coaches and the flexible structure the program provides. "At Next Level NOLA you have people to help you and support you to reach your goals. You have people to help you with whatever you need," explains Kathlyn. Marco agrees, "Even when I find myself in a complicated situation with the work, my coach is always there to help me, to say, “Let’s sit down. Let’s break this down,” so I can understand it better. And not just my coach, but any member of the NLN staff is available and will gladly help you."

You can follow the fellows in their inaugural year on Next Level NOLA's Instagram and be on the lookout for your invitation to attend a virtual "Meet the Founders" event this December!