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Waco building an intentional college access ecosystem

By Hermann Pereira

I read an article on the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. “It doesn’t matter if you fall down,” Jordan said, “it’s whether you get back up.” It has been a sticky note quote on my desk, and it reminds me to be persistent. Persistence and intentionality are key when conducting collective impact.

McLennan County College Access Network met in July to discuss how we create an ecosystem that promotes more access for all students.

One focal point of our education portfolio is college and career access. One way we build public will and leadership is in convening the McLennan County College Access Network. We have been meeting all summer and have had some very productive meetings, but the group is on its fourth iteration.

We have had to take Michael Jordan’s advice and “keep getting back up.” The group has dynamic and vibrant leaders who truly want to see increased pathways for students. They desire to be intentional and persistent for students, and I am so proud to be a part of this group.

The group plans to create an ecosystem of higher education resources that include the following:

  • a directory of resources and how to access them,

  • a local scholarship list that all high schools can access, and

  • a calendar/timeline that will guide students and schools on what steps are necessary and when.

We are committed to being intentional and persistent for students so our community has equitable college and career pathways. I want to thank three key folks who have been critical in building this group:

  • Vincent Phillips from Baylor University,

  • Stephanie Trammel from the University Center at McLennan Community College, and

  • Jennifer Serrato from Region 12, and Aaron Mize from Communities in Schools.

If you would like to connect, please reach out. I would love to have a conversation about this and/or other topics with you. Please feel free to contact me at

Hermann Pereira is chief program officer for Prosper Waco.


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