ESSEX Wadleigh Secondary School Student Andy Diaz had no idea who he was meeting when he casually struck up a conversation with a stranger at a Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES) event last week only to learn that stranger was Paul Smith's College President Dr. John Mills.
While Diaz decided to attend a different college, he used the connection to help his friend, Patreecha Lee, achieve her college dream. Lee will be entering Paul Smith's College this fall as a freshman majoring in business.
Networking was the focus of the very special national task force meeting on Aug. 22 and 23. President Rick Dalton hosted the the meeting at his Essex residence. Thirty-five higher education advocates from across the nation attended the conference, and also celebrated the foundation's new name - College For Every Student (CFES).
Lee, Diaz and former classmate Shameka Cobbs, all from New York City, were all featured speakers at the event.
Board member Tom Mattox, a former college admittance officer and Harvard and Dartmouth and current employee of Goldman Sachs, said the change to CFES helped clarify the foundations's mission. The nationally known education organization targets under served youth to help them get into college and succeed there.
The name change is one of the most important developments of the last few years, said Dick Walker, president of the CFES board and Essex summer resident. It's going to make clearer to the world what our mission is.
Lake Placid Central School Superintendent Ernie Stretton approved of the change.
It's right on target with what the underlying mission of CFES is all about, said Stretton. It stands out more.
The new CFES name is part of the groups ongoing initiative to promote college for minority and low-income youth. The effort is combating a national crisis. According to the Committee for Economic Development, by 2025 the United States faces a deficit of 16 million college-educated workers, a statistic CFES hopes to impact.