The edge of his dream,
And he watches from inside
With a grateful heart.

Poetry brings Douglas McCollum a lot of joy, even when it hurts a little. That’s the way he feels about graduation this weekend. “It’s tough to not be able to have the ceremony,” he says. “The ceremony wasn’t just for me; to not be able to celebrate with my family is what I’m really going to miss.”

The High Point Central graduate began his career at High Point University in 2016 as part of the first class of Say Yes Guilford scholars. “To be able have that scholarship, and not to have to worry about a meal plan or how I was going to pay for books or tuition meant a whole lot to me and my family as well.”

Family is important to McCollum. “I wanted to make my family proud: my parents, my grandparents, my cousins, my aunts and my uncles.” As the first in his family to attend college, he’s done that and much more. The Say Yes scholarship, McCollum says, gave him opportunities to explore his passions; poetry was one of them. “I worked with the Community Writing Center at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. We were able to start a poetry program for 6-8 graders.” He helped students at Penn-Griffin Middle School and Kirkman Park Elementary learn to express themselves through their writing and encouraged them to share their words at a “Poetry Project Showcase” this past March. It changed him. “I’ve seen a lot of growth not only in them, but because of them, in myself.”

Now with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication, McCollum serves the Washington Street community with the intention to embolden voices and encourage agency.  He is the current Program Director for Mega Mission Ministries and the Community Writing Center at Mt. Zion Baptist church in High Point. “I see the promise that is in this city, and I see what it is capable of. I would love to come home and do some work at home. It has always been a goal of mine to do something for my city.”

McCollum still practices poetry. He has traveled to Atlanta, San Francisco and Minneapolis as a youth poet, and published pieces in High Point University’s Apogee magazine, Infinite Space and the Greensboro News and Record.

“I’m grateful for the shift_ed Scholarship, and grateful to have been part of High Point University and my city of High Point; and I’m grateful for the people I’ve met in the process.”

High Point University is a Limited Local Higher Education Partner with shift_ed. Each year this partnership makes five scholarships for full tuition and fees available to qualifying students with a family income below $75,000 and five grants available to qualifying students with a family income above $75,000.

 shift_ed boldly accelerates student potential