Last year at this time I updated you about the journey of my little brother, Travis Thomas. Travis had been abandoned at birth and was being raised by his great aunt when Big Brothers&Sisters matched us together 25 years ago.
For his entire life, Travis lived in one of Miami’s more impoverished neighborhoods. Few kids seemed to make it out, and the well-known success stories appeared limited to those who became professional athletes.
Unwilling to accept a future he didn’t want, a few years ago Travis charted his own way out. With the support of his wife (and a baby on the way) he returned to school to make his claim on the American Dream. After proving himself at Miami-Dade College and then at Nova University, he graduated with honors and declared he wanted to be a dentist.
When he took his dental school admissions test, Travis scored among the highest students in the nation.
Last December he was admitted to dental schools all over the country but chose the dental school at Tufts University which awarded him a generous academic scholarship to help defray some of the huge costs of attendance. I was especially proud being a Tufts undergraduate myself.
So a few months ago, we moved Travis, his wife Wilsa and their 4 year-old child Travis Jr., to Boston to bear the cold and ice, and to follow their dream in this amazing adventure. Many friends pitched in to help the Thomas’ through generous donations of winter clothing, appliances and money and, of course, heartfelt words of encouragement.
While I should no longer wonder about how Travis will perform, Joan and I were still a little nervous when first semester grades came out this week.
How would Travis compare to the finest dental students in the nation?
Well, Travis’ first semester grades are in and he didn’t disappoint. All A’s and a couple B’s, including an A in the dreaded gross anatomy course.
Time to exhale. Couldn’t be more proud of Travis and Wilsa.
Happy holidays to all!