MEET A SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT
Jaheim President ’23 • Summerville, SC
Middle grades education major
Representative Floyd Breeland Scholarship
Once you’ve met him, you won’t forget Jaheim President. His larger-than-life personality and his overwhelming positive attitude are extraordinary. Given that, it only seems fitting that he – and the rest of the world – learned about his acceptance to the College on television.
Along with his close friend Darius Smith, President was invited to California as a high school senior to appear on the The Ellen Show. He was told they were flying to California for a conference about the teaching profession, which included tickets to the show. While in the audience, host Ellen DeGeneres brought President and Smith on stage to announce that the College had accepted them and would pay their tuition for four years. In addition, DeGeneres and company (backed by Cheerios) presented both young men a check for $20,000 and donated $10,000 to the high school they attended.
“That was amazing,” recalls President. “I was shocked and surprised when she called us down to the stage. I thought we were there just to see the show. The College was my top choice, and I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t be accepted.”
President enrolled as a participant in the Call Me MISTER Program, a statewide initiative designed to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers. He regards that involvement as a highlight of his time at CofC, serving as the program’s campus president while pursuing his major in middle grades education.
“It’s a very powerful program and something that’s really needed across our state,” explains the recipient of the Representative Floyd Breeland Scholarship. “I didn’t have my father growing up, so my teachers really impacted my life. I believe teaching is the greatest way I can give back to what they have done for me.”
And that – giving back – has become a compass for President’s life. Next year, he will be teaching at Berea Middle School in Greenville, South Carolina. It’s a Title 1 school where many students come from low-income households, and he feels confident he can make a big difference in the lives of his future students. Privately, on his Instagram account (@CallMePres), he offers encouragement for more than 4,000 followers. He often urges them to “dream big, do big!” – precisely what President has been doing for the past four years.
“My college experience has been a wild one, but I realize that everything I’ve been taught has shaped me, both the easy lessons and the hard ones,” he says. “Graduating in four years is a big accomplishment for me, but now I know that investing in myself this way is going to pay off for others.”