“For me, mindset is everything,” Donavan wrote in his essay, “when you set out to achieve a goal do not give up. I reach out for help when needed and I confidently and consistently advocate for myself. I will not accept defeat!”

His college counselor wrote, “Donavan’s demeanor can be rightly described as purposeful, precise, and forthright. He is rarely found off task.” Fittingly, Donavan is a sprinter on the track team. He is also a weightlifter – the school team is called the Murder of Crows Barbell Club – and active on the speech and debate team.

As a member of that team, he was asked to find and recite a speech. He chose “Lift Off,” which had been given as a graduation speech at the Harvard Graduate School of Education by a student with a similar first name, Donovan Livingston. “‘Lift Off’ resonated with me,” Donavan wrote, “it expressed the biases in today’s education system. Coming from an inner-city school, I identified.” The speech, Donavan wrote, “highlights inequalities within the education system while giving hope that as scholars we can rise and make effective change. Livingston encourages students to fight for classroom equality. This is the student I aspire to be.”

And in the longer run: “I want to be a political force in my community.”

My mentor Steve from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program has made a tremendous impact on my life. Steve taught me many things but the most impactful is consistency. I can guarantee his call to check in/up will be made, his follow up and thoroughness with our plans are going to be upheld. I have become a better human being with his consistent influence which is so very important for a young man in today's world. Thank you Steve.