Jala Powell and Ila Childs are two KIPP Indy alumnae that have big plans for their lives. Jala, now a senior in high school, said she came to KIPP Indy because she needed to be challenged academically. “The curriculum at KIPP required a lot of work and you had to be prepared. As a KIPPster, I learned that without proper preparation and the necessary materials, I wouldn’t be successful,” Jala said.

Ila, now a sophomore at Indiana University, is an embodiment of that hard work and effort. As an advertising student with a minor in marketing, she is using her interests and skills to get involved on campus. She is the media relations chair for the Neal Marshall Black Student Alliance and a member of the IU chapter of the NAACP, as well as a member of the marketing committee for IU TV.

Both students credit their college preparation to KIPP Through College (KTC), KIPP Indy’s college prep program that is dedicated to getting students not only to college, but through college. KTC places a strong emphasis on making college an attainable goal for every KIPP student. They do this in a multitude of ways: from workshops and college entrance test prep, to campus visits for students from kindergarten and up.

Jala said KTC has helped her succeed in high school. “I joined conferences and extracurricular activities because the KTC team recommended them to me.” The KTC team has helped Jala navigate taking the ACT with test prep sessions and provided guidance to her on how to pay for college, with information on loans and grants. Jala hopes to attend an historically black college or university next year.

In addition to the KTC support that Ila receives in college, she is also acting as a role model to younger KIPP Indy alumni by volunteering to speak at workshops about success in high school and college preparation. One thing that she felt truly prepared her for college was the fact that at KIPP Indy, going to college was embedded in everything they did. For instance, every grade is named for the year that they will graduate from high school and start college. Ila recalls, “you’re not just a 6th grader, you’re the class of 2015.” That focus on graduating high school and getting to college was imperative for making it feel like an attainable goal for her. Ila continues to stay in contact with our KTC advisors, and visited with one of them on the IU campus just a few weeks ago.

Now getting ready to begin the transition from high school to college, Jala is starting to fill out college applications during KTC workshops. How is Jala feeling? She says, “I’m ready for college. In fact, I’m much more ready than many of my classmates because I have KTC behind me.”