Alan Wesson

Hometown: Harvey, LA

high school: Phillips Academy - Andover

college: Yale University

MAJOR: American Studies

One morning Kim and Alvin Wesson found a baby on their front step. They decided to name him Alan. According to Alan’s father, an aspiring comedian, this was how it all began.

In any case, Alan grew up in the downtown sector of New Orleans, Louisiana, which is the overwhelmingly black area of the city. When he was five years old a murder took place on his block, and that day his father decided to move the family to the suburbs. Alan attended public school there, but as the years passed, the public schools in the area started to experience a decline in educational quality. Alan’s parents decided that private school would be a worthwhile investment in the futures of their two children.

Alan enrolled at a private school in the wealthier section of New Orleans where he was forced to adjust to a predominately white environment. Well, predominately white is an understatement. Out of 100 students, Alan was the only black male in his class. Nevertheless, Alan reacted well to this change of scenery and soon began to excel in his academic work, keeping in mind his parent’s hard work to finance his private education.

As Alan moved into high school, he maintained an exceptional academic record. He was elected freshman and sophomore class president. He also helped coordinate and teach in Summerbridge, an enrichment program for New Orleans public, elementary school students that prepares them to enter the city’s private and parochial preparatory schools. Then Katrina came.

Alan’s family evacuated to Birmingham, and he enrolled at the local high school there. After his first day of classes, he received a text message from the Phillips Academy Admissions envoy that was in Houston looking for students to bring back to Andover. Alan accepted admissions and was blown away by the new world that had just been opened to him. Before, the only boarding school of which Alan was aware was the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which he believes is in Nebraska.

The Head of School waived tuition for the nineteen kids who had been accepted into Phillips Academy, and the following year, Alan was named a Tang Scholar, based on his solid academic record, and was once again rewarded a lucrative scholarship, making it possible for him to stay at Andover.

For many, Hurricane Katrina took everything: homes, jobs, even hope. As Alan’s family sat in front of the television for days wondering if their house would still be there, there was a peace that hovered in the room. Alan’s father reminded the family that material things could be replaced but that their lives could not, so Alan and his family remained faithful, continuing to believe that God would work everything out.

And that is exactly what He did.

Alan graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a BA in American Studies and is currently the Service Learning Coordinator at Lick-Wilmerding High School.

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