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Strength, Resilience, Courage and Rest

My extremely extroverted youngest child started freshman year of college this fall—in person. After being off a campus for nearly 18 months and managing a chronic illness, she’s excited to be in school and also reports feeling socially overwhelmed and physically exhausted.

I think many students are feeling this way after spending so long away from peers, teachers and professors. My advice to her is to allow herself to rest when she needs it. That’s not the typical advice we give to students. Our usual encouragement is about achieving at all costs and going all out. But isn’t that what students have been doing? The sheer act of showing up to school on day one this fall required immense strength and resilience.

And then, this poem showed up in my inbox today:

“Sacred Exhaustionby Jeff Foster
These two lines in particular resonated with me:

There is no shame in admitting that you cannot go on. Even the courageous need to rest.

For a great journey lies ahead. And you will need all of your resources.

Achieve Atlanta Scholars are on a great journey—one that is long and takes courage. In this newsletter, you’ll find some inspiring examples of how they have gathered all their resources to realize some of their dreams. We’ll also share some information about students who have had to stop out to rest. Let’s celebrate all of our Scholars and remind them that it’s not just OK, but, in fact, courageous to rest when you need it.

Best wishes to all who are back in the classroom,


The Achieve Atlanta team is growing! We are excited to introduce these new team members, who bring a unique perspective to the work we do every day and will help us continue to move our work forward.
Shyam Mandavia, our new Data Strategy Fellow, will be supporting the team by cleaning and organizing data and conducting analysis to inform programing. He earned his bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Georgia, and is expected to complete his master's degree in economics at Georgia State University in December 2021. Shyam was an Education Policy and Analysis Intern with Clayton County Public Schools, supporting data cleaning and analysis of student achievement data.

As the manager of Scholarship and Affordability, Janai Raphael will oversee the day-to-day operations of Achieve Atlanta’s scholarship and other affordability initiatives. She earned a bachelor’s in biological sciences at the University of Georgia and a master’s in higher education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Janai first started working in the college access and success space in 2016, when she served as a College Adviser with the Georgia College Advising Corps. Since then, Janai has worked with multiple organizations, including the National College Attainment Network, the Southern Education Foundation, the United Negro College Fund, District of Columbia Public Schools and Achieve Atlanta.
We kicked off the school year with our 2021-22 College Access Team (CAT) School Launch Training, which gave CATs the opportunity to learn more about our partnerships and the supports available to them, as well as set goals for the coming year. Over the next several months Atlanta Public Schools staff and partners, College Advising Corps and OneGoal, will be focusing on helping seniors apply to financial aid and finalize their college application lists.
As this fall’s scholarship renewal cycle winds down, we are still working to ensure all eligible students enroll in college with the Achieve Atlanta Scholarship. Based upon our current estimates, the decreasing enrollment trend we saw last year among our Scholars and nationwide looks to be continuing. This applies to both incoming and returning Achieve Atlanta Scholars, especially for those enrolling in two-year institutions. In the weeks ahead, we will focus our efforts on better understanding the barriers Scholars face and working with our partners to develop strategies to help them reenroll.

We are excited to share a few of our 2021 Achieve Atlanta Graduates below:


Graduated from Tougaloo College with a degree in sociology. She is an alumnae of Carver Early College.

"My college experience is something I’ll never forget and couldn’t have completed without Achieve Atlanta's support."


Graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in finance. He is an alumnus of North Atlanta High School.

“Thank you for everything! I’m truly grateful for this scholarship, as it was able to help me achieve my dream of graduating from college.”


Graduated from Albany State University with a degree in psychology. She is an alumnae of Mays High School.

"I'm happy to be a graduate and have so much support! Thank you to everyone who helped make my graduation day special!"
Earlier this summer we sent out a customized duffel bag as a gift to each of our 2021 Achieve Atlanta Graduates!

Achieve Atlanta’s Executive Director, Tina Fernandez, recently participated in two events as a panelist, sharing Achieve Atlanta’s progress and future goals.

In a panel hosted by Salesforce for its employees, Tina explained the importance of Achieve Atlanta’s partnerships with other organizations and how we use technology to better serve our students.

At the Georgia Chamber’s Transforming Talent event, Tina served on a panel that discussed expanding Georgia's talent pipeline. She shared how Achieve Atlanta is equitably addressing this issue by increasing access to postsecondary education for Atlanta's students.

The rush back to college campuses is leaving behind the most vulnerable

Achieve Atlanta, Baltimore City Public Schools, College and Career Access Center, and NCAN were mentioned in a Politico article about fall enrollment challenges.
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Achieve Atlanta · 191 Peachtree St NE Ste 1000 · Atlanta, GA 30303-1741 · USA