Stacey Koch is our first mentor of excellence for the new year. Her mentee, Nelida, graduated from Miami Senior High School in June 2009 and now attends Miami-Dade College. During high school Nelida was motivated to attend a four-year university upon graduation. She worked very hard, and had the initiative to take advantage of tutoring her high school provided to students free of charge. Problems arose, however, due to an unfortunate confluence of events, including a legal name change for Nelida by her father and a change of case management agencies. Nelida, however, overcame much adversity during her high school years, and her hard work paid off. She passed the FCAT, was named to her school’s Honor Roll, improved her ACT scores, and maintained the grades needed to make her dream a real possibility. Following graduation Nelida was accepted to the Casa Valentina program. Nelida was a talented basketball player at Miami Senior High, and her talent did not go unnoticed. Shortly, Nelida will begin an assistant basketball coaching position at the Rasom Everglades school.

Ms. Koch committed to working with Educate Tomorrow last year. A prominent attorney at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP, and the immediate past president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, she is a member of the Girls’ Leadership Project committee. Expanding her efforts, Ms. Koch began mentoring last summer when she was matched with Nelida. Thanks to her work in sorting through the bureaucratic nightmare and assisting Nelida with her communications and applications, Nelida was able to apply to eight universities, while maintaining her grades, her sport, and her faith in her future.

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