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Louisville Celebrates Graduating Students' College Pursuits

Timothy Poynter says he is out to prove some things.

Poynter, 17, is a senior at Moore Traditional High School and in the fall will begin studying pre-law and sociology at Transylvania University in Lexington.

He's made about a dozen visits to the campus already. He's met with teachers, track coaches and team members and future peers. He said he felt a sense of community at the school immediately, and now, still months away from his first day of class, he said it feels like home.

Poynter said his father, a Louisville Metro firefighter, pushed him to continue his education. And he said he is ready for the challenge of college. When he graduates, he'll be the first in his family to do so without first dropping out, he said.

On Monday, Poynter joined nearly 1,500 other Louisville high school seniors at the KFC Yum Center in downtown Louisville at an event celebrating the commitment to go to college.

Students from 26 JCPS schools as well as the Archdiocese of Louisville took part in the event.

Representatives from more than 20 colleges and universities met with future students at the event to share experiences and tips before the final preparations begin.

As he prepares to embark for college, Poynter said his challenge will be more than just academic struggles. Transylvania's campus is largely white. Poynter is African American; he says he embraces the opportunity to prove any stereotypes wrong.

There's also the challenge of paying for school.

Poynter will receive nearly $80,000 in scholarships, he said. The rest, about $20,000, he'll pay "out of pocket."

His father and mother, a nurse, are taking second jobs to foot the tuition bill. Poynter, himself, will also take on student debt.

"It's going to be a struggle to watch them do this for me," he said. "But I want to show that hard work does get you somewhere."

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.