Stories of Success: High Minority, High Poverty Public School Graduate Narratives on Accessing Higher Education

Richard J. Reddick, Anjalé D. Welton, Danielle J. Alsandor, Jodi L. Denyszyn, C. Spencer Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Worrisome trends in achievement have been identified for students of color in high minority, high poverty (HMHP) high schools, as they are less likely to attend college and encounter greater challenges in accessing higher education than peers in wealthier schools. To address this inequity, this article presents descriptions of how these school environments affected the motivation and attitudes of students of color in an urban Texas context considering postsecondary education, and examines how this population utilized and leveraged forms of capital to achieve their postsecondary goals. Findings from the qualitative study revealed that students found support for their higher education goals through invested teachers, counselors, community members, and peers, though they encountered unsupportive examples from these populations as well. Additionally, participants negotiated stereotypes about their schools and communities, while holding positive attitudes about their communities. Given the fact that Texas, like many other states, is an emerging majority-minority state and residential segregation is increasing across much of the nation, this article contributes to our knowledge of how an often-neglected population successfully realizes their college aspirations. At a time when more complex issues of desegregating schools and communities continue to be discussed in the public policy arena, the authors provide recommendations to researchers, educators, and parents invested in ensuring that students in HMHP high schools access college.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-618
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Advanced Academics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • college access
  • high minority schools
  • high poverty
  • social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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