Interview with Clarence Cross, Chavez Parkside High School Guidance Counselor

Clarence CrossWhat first intrigued you about the Minds Matter opportunity for your students?
I immediately appreciated Minds Matter’s rigorous application process.  It isn’t an ‘everyone who applies is in’ type of program.  I think that’s great.  This creates an expectation for the type of MM student and the type of program MM will be.  A lot of schools in DC don’t do rigor well, causing our brightest students to be unchallenged and underexposed.  This lack of rigor also can lead marvelous students to undermatch and attend less competitive colleges. Minds Matter fills those gaps!  The three-year program, test prep, summer opportunities, international experiences, college application support and all-around exposure makes the Minds Matter program one of a kind.   I also love Minds Matter’s focus on writing and critical thinking.  The inability to manage collegiate level writing expectations is the number one academic reason my students don’t continue with higher education.  Minds Matter ensures my students are ready for college and prepare them for the best colleges for their abilities.   

Who do you consider a role model, either currently or as you were growing up?
Growing up, my role models were my parents.  I admired their hard work and how they treated people.  My parents both went to college and were from small towns in the South.  I’m eternally gratefully to have heard their stories and experienced their success as educated professionals.  They taught me to treat all people with respect, develop my weaknesses and smile before frowning.  These are the same qualities I try to transfer to my students daily.  

What’s exciting you at Chavez Parkside High School this year?
I’m excited about continuing my work surrounding college access and leadership development at another school.  Chavez Parkside has such a strong community and culture. I’m grateful to have my ideas and work ethic welcomed!  The students at Chavez Parkside have such strong advocacy skills so, it’s been a new experience working with students who are clear and strong willed about what they want from their future.

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