success stories Head Start Helps Launch Michael on Path to Ivy League

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Michael Robinson, of Silver Spring, Md., is on the verge of graduating from Yale University. However, grew up in a home where his mother struggled at times to provide for him and his four siblings. The family lived paycheck to paycheck, until Michael’s mother lost her job and the family was homeless for three months. However, despite these challenges, Michael was driven by his love of learning and confidence in the classroom.

”My Head Start education is one of those things that made going from a low-income household to one of the best academic institutions in the world possible,” said Michael.

Michael began attending Head Start in Fairfax County, Va. in 1996. Beyond the educational opportunities his new classroom provided, he remembers his Head Start teacher, Ms. Harlow, talking with his mother and grandmother about how they could continue to spur his academic curiosity at home.

“I would go to school for those few hours in the day and then come home with books so I could begin learning to read,” Michael said. “When I entered kindergarten, I was not behind the curve, as many children from low-income backgrounds are. I was reading at an equal and then much higher grade level than some of my peers.”Michael credits this early confidence as a critical point in his education.

“Head Start gave me the tools to feel confident in an educational setting, not frustrated and discouraged as many of our young people are. Head Start gave me an environment to love learning. Head Start served as a catalyst to change the course of my life.” 

 Thanks to this strong educational start, Michael’s passion for learning and commitment to achievement continued to grow, demonstrated by 12 years of straight-A grades. The award-winning scholar also excelled as a three-sport athlete, trombonist, and student government president.

Now a senior at Yale in New Haven, Ct., Michael describes his early education experience not as a head start, but as an “equal chance at success and social mobility in this great country through education.”

Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social, and other services. Head Start services are responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.Sourced from Office of Head Start. Head Start Helps Launch Michael Robinson on Path to Ivy League. Available at

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