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KU grad among 1st to complete 'College Can Be A Reality' program

KU grad completes 'College Can Be A...

READING, Pa. - Nobody graduates college alone. That's certainly true for Asia Crawford. For more than a decade, she's had the support scholars dream of.

"It's exciting, It's the best feeling in the world," said Crawford.

Back when she was in fifth grade at Lauer's Park Elementary School in Reading, she was accepted into the 'College Can Be a Reality' program, which encourages students who might not think college is an option to go get a degree.

This Saturday, 12 years since the program's inception, the 26-year-old will walk across the stage at KU's commencement.

"What an outstanding young lady. What an outstanding family," said fifth grade teacher Mark Steinmeyer.

"Asia was in my very first, first year I was here. She was in that class," said guidance counselor Bernadette Norton.

Gordon Hoodak, the principal of Lauer's Park Elementary, was the one who planted the seed 12 years ago, but he said it's teachers, guidance counselors and financial aid officials who make it possible.

"I think there's a sense of pride, because I knew Asia since she was a little girl," said Hoodak.

The program helps a select amount of fifth graders from Lauer's Park. Entry is based on an essay. Then students and their parents are shown the benefits of higher education.

"It has made a difference, because it has made me realize that I can do what I want to do and I don't have to give up no matter what obstacles or struggles I may go through," said Crawford.

Crawford is one of the first students to complete the program. School officials hope that even more tassels may move in the future.

"We try to do it for the right reason, and the right reason for us is how to give kids dreams," said Hoodak.

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