The Background of Our Program

Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page to register at any time.

We are a Community-based Organization, based in Marietta, Georgia partnering with schools, school districts, and faith- and other community-based organizations throughout the United States. We also partner with colleges and programs like QuestBridge, LEDA, Posse, and The Gates Scholarship Program. Our foundation was founded by Mychal and Nina Wynn to provide college planning guidance and support for expanding college access and minimizing student loan debt for any student, but particularly for students from lower income families and those who will be the first in their family to attend college. In 2020, our partnership with Guilford County Schools (NC), focused on first generation, lower income, and refugee students received the 2020 Magna Award from the the National School Boards Association.

In the summer of 2018, we began our partnership with Pinellas County Schools through a collaboration with Dr. Lewis Brinson, the PCS Minority Achievement Officer, with the introduction of our College Planning Boot Camp for rising high school seniors. Students from that first boot camp were not only offered admission to such in-state universities as FAMU, Florida State, University of Florida, and the University of Miami, but also to such schools as Amherst College, Morehouse College, William College, Swarthmore College, and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Over the years, PCS students have been offered admission to and selected for such highly selective colleges and programs as:

Amherst College • Claflin University Honors College • FAMU Honors Program • Florida State • Jack Kent Cooke Scholar • Johns Hopkins • North Carolina A&T Honors College • Northeastern University • QuestBridge • University of Chicago • University of Florida • University of South Florida Honors College • St. Petersburg College • Swarthmore College • Williams College • Yale Young Global Scholars Program 

What makes our program unique is that our focus is not simply expanding college awareness but guiding students in developing a holistic set of strategies throughout their 7-year middle school through high school progression across such areas as choosing their high schools and programs; course taking; pursuing leadership and service; developing their gifts and talents; and setting goals to make themselves competitive applicants for being offered admission to selective colleges and being awarded competitive scholarships. While less than 2% of all students are attending college on a full scholarship (Source: ThinkImpact), the strategic planning engaged in by students in our program has resulted in unparalleled success with nearly 50% of participating students being offered full scholarships each year. In our Class of 2023, students were offered full scholarships to Benedict College, Brown University, Claflin University, Tuskegee University, University of South Carolina – Columbia, Vassar College, Williams College, Winthrop University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Now, in our 5th year, our PCS program has expanded to not only provide college planning guidance, but to cover such topics as learning styles, personality types, multiple intelligences, temperament, mindset, and grit. However, like our college planning program, our goal is not to simply introduce students to these topics, but to guide students in developing strategies that are implemented through learning style, time management, and study skills plans.

This expansion has resulted in middle school and high school students learning how to implement our 3 pillars of scholarship, leadership, and service within the context of their personality, gifts, talents, and college/career aspirations. Middle school students have applied to some of Pinellas County School’s most rigorous programs such as the CAT Program at Lakewood High School; IB Program at St. Petersburg High School; and Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, and have pursued leadership roles in school-based organizations, athletic teams, and in the marching band as noted in Who I Am: Vol IV – My Goals.

I would like to be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society in 8th grade and run for the position of Vice-President. I also would like to win the Pride Award in either math or science. If there is a good citizen award that I can strive to win through community service and outreach, then that would be something that I would like to aim for.

— Griffin, 8th Grade [p. 128]

My honors and awards goals for this year are pretty modest. I want to continue qualifying for the Principal’s List and achieve a Superior for Solo and Ensemble.

— Layla, 8th Grade [p. 128]

I plan to be inducted into multiple honor societies such as International Thespian Society, English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, French Honor Society, and Tri-M Music Honor Society. I also plan to make the Principal’s List, earn awards from tournaments/ meets, and become valedictorian of my graduating class.

— Jocelyne, 9th Grade [p. 128]

I would like to be inducted into the Science National Honor Society, continue qualifying for the honor roll, be inducted into the National Honor Society, qualify for the IB pinning, and be recognized as an AP Scholar.

— Anna, 10th Grade [p. 129]

What Others are Saying

In the video presented below, 8th graders share their middle school boot camp experiences and provide insight into the enormous amount of information received through their participation. Jocelyne attended her first book camp as a rising 6th grader. By 8th grade, she was not only continuing her involvement in our program, but encouraged her older sister, who was then a sophomore in the IB Program at St. Petersburg High School, to join our year-long program. Her sister went on to be offered admission to Johns Hopkins University, together with a full scholarship and is one of 3 Pinellas County Schools students profiled in the book, Their Stories: Vol I – Inspiring Essays of Students from Challenging Backgrounds.

Emerging Middle School Leaders Program (Grades 6 – 8) 
The Emerging Leaders Program is a small cohort of students interested in pursuing our 3 pillars of Scholarship, Leadership, and Service within a college planning context. The all-virtual meeting is held on the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 am – Noon. Students and parents participate in a large group session with cohort students in grades 9 –  12 for approximately 45 minutes. Students are then moved into a middle-school only discussion group with a college adviser and high school discussion group leader.
Over the course of the year, students work through our online curriculum, create monthly presentations of what are learning, engage in discussions with peers, and collaborate on leadership and community service projects to make a difference in their schools and communities.


To register, complete the registration form at the bottom of this page. For more information, you may e-mail Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer for Pinellas County Schools ( or you may e-mail our office (

Requirements for participation:

  • A computer capable of accessing our website and sharing Google Documents
  • A reliable Internet connection for accessing our online curriculum and virtual session

Sydney – The University of Chicago

As the Co-Drum Major of the St. Petersburg High School Marching Band, Sydney was unable to attend the summer boot camp, but joined our year-long program as a high school junior. In her interview, Sydney shares how important it was for her to make a commitment to the program to expand her college options, and particularly being offered admission The University of Chicago, one of the most selective schools in the country. Sydney’s growth mindset and grit paid off with her being offered a full scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she is now a 3rd-year student.


7-year Curriculum

Our College Planning Cohort Program is a 7-year curriculum-based program reflecting our 3 pillars of scholarship, leadership, and service designed around the “Essential Questions,” developed by the Coalition of Essential Schools (Coalition of Essential Schools):
  • From whose viewpoint are we seeing or reading or hearing? From what angle or perspective?
  • How do we know when we know? What’s the evidence, and how reliable is it?
  • How are things, events, or people connected to each other? What is the cause and what is the effect? How do they fit together?
  • What’s new and what’s old? Have we run across this idea before?
  • So what? Why does it matter? What does it all mean?

Through the process of deeply considering their current goals and long-term aspirations within a college planning context, students increase their critical thinking skills as they continuously ponder, “What is the right college for me? Where will I receive the most financial aid? How can I further develop my body of work?”

3-year Emerging Leaders Middle School Program: Our middle school college planning approach is to guided middle school students in planning their 7-year middle school through high school trajectory across the areas of academics, leadership, community service, and school/community engagement.
4-year College Planning Cohort Program: Our high school college planning approach is to inspire students to be intrinsically-motivated learners and leaders, and to maximize school and community-based opportunities to develop their gifts and talents, and to have a community impact through their leadership and service. Through our grade-level appropriate curriculum:
9th graders EXPLORE and ESTABLISH themselves for making a successful transition into high school through a yearlong focus on study skills and planning their high school trajectory across our 3 pillars of scholarship, leadership, and service.
10th graders REVISIT and RE-AFFIRM their successful approach to studying and learning and aligning scholarship pathways with their academics, leadership, service, and gifts and talents.
11th graders PLAN to pursue specific college and scholarship pathways. In the following video, Nadia and her mother share their experiences during our first Pinellas County Schools boot camp. Nadia continued on to participate in our school-year cohort and has received her degree from Florida State University and is now employed in the St. Petesburg area.

12th graders IMPLEMENT THEIR PLANS in pursuing their affirmed college and scholarship pathways.

Requirements for participation:

  • A computer capable of accessing our website and sharing Google Documents
  • A reliable Internet connection for accessing our online curriculum and virtual session

Ryan – Tuskegee University

As a rising high school senior, Ryan, a member of the varsity baseball team at Lakewood High School, participated in our summer program for rising high school seniors. Although Ryan was not a recruited-athlete, he had aspirations of attending college on a full scholarship with the opportunity to continue playing baseball, a sport that he loved. As a result of what he learned in the boot camp, and through our continued conversations with Ryan and his parents, he expanded his college list and was subsequently offered 2 full scholarship, one of which was to Tuskegee University as a Distinguished Presidential Scholar. Unlike athletic scholarships, which are only guaranteed for one year, his academic scholarship is guaranteed for 4 years as long as he meets to minimum annual GPA requirement. Ryan will still have the opportunity to play baseball as he pursues a degree in engineering.

I greatly appreciate Mr. And Mrs. Wynn’s help, because without them I never would have found out about this great opportunity.

— Ryan, Lakewood High School CAT Program

Register Now…

Registration is now open for each of our FREE 4-day Virtual Transition and Enrichment Programs: Middle School Students (grades 6-8); High School Students (grades 9-11); and High School Seniors. Students in each program will complete grade-level appropriate activities; engage in grade-level appropriate small group discussions; and be guided in setting school-year and long-term goals.

2023-24 Program Registration

Click here to download PCS Cohort Overview  

Click here to download an interactive flier