Edward Nelson’s goal is no less than having a major role in helping the Chester Upland School District, or one like it, provide the kind of education he wished he had had coming up through the grades from K through 12. Quite a tall order for a guy just out of high school.
But talking with Edward, you get the idea that it will really happen. “My father taught me to have faith in my own ability; to know that nobody’s better than me.” The father, Edward, Sr., has been a major inspiration to Edward, Jr., going to bat many times for a decent education, not only for his son, but for all Chester children. That sense of conﬁdence was important in earning young Edward a coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship, one of only 1,000 in the country, and making him captain of the football team for his four high school years and ﬁnally senior class president. The Gates scholarship guarantees a four-year college education at any school in the country. Edward’s long-term aspiration is to earn a PhD in education, something Gates can also help with.
Most recently, he’s been a counselor in the Summer Enrichment Camp at Chester Eastside, Inc., before he heads off for Morehouse College in Atlanta in the fall. In a way it’s payback for the experience he had in the After School Program at Chester Eastside.
It was in the After School Program that Edward was helped to master things ranging from reading and writing to math. “I owe a lot to Ms. Redd, (Kathryn Redd, the After School director) and Rev. Bernice Warren, who both taught me how to stay on task and keep from getting distracted.
This summer, in the Chester Eastside Summer Enrichment Camp, he counseled a group of young campers, serving as a mentor and role-model. He was the youngest of the counselors but moved into the new role with ease.
In opting to attend Morehouse, a prestigious, historically black college, Edward has chosen a school with a ﬁrst-class reputation. Among its graduates was Martin Luther King, Jr.
Growing up on Chester’s East Side, Edward noticed at one point that he and some of his friends were moving in different directions. Along the way, he lost some friends through gun violence. More recently, a beloved teacher was a victim of gun violence.
Now focused on his long-term career goals, Edward still identiﬁes with the community that nurtured him. So we’re conﬁdent you’ll be hearing about Edward Nelson, Jr., in the future. So is Edward.