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Kimberley Baker Guillemet

I know what it's like to walk a tightrope. As a Black student at an elite college preparatory school, I hoped and prayed that I wouldn't misstep. The competition was fierce for admission and I knew that spots at my school, especially those underwritten by financial aid, were few and far between. I was desperate to succeed because I knew a lot was riding on my performance for both those who supported me, as well as for those who did not.

On the surface I was self-assured, driven and focused, but on the inside, I worried that I wouldn't really make it. My whole life, I'd been told that I was too much of too many things to succeed. Too Black to be smart, too overweight to be athletic, too brown to be beautiful, too working class-adjacent to be refined—in short, too filled with imperfections to ever reach greatness.

And I actually bought into the idea that certain aspects of me, like my kinky hair, my skin color, my body shape, my lower middle class socio-economic background, and my ethnic status might prevent me from excelling, in not only my high school's elite educational environment, but generally in life.

That I was too much of myself to succeed was not true, but the potential that it was plagued me for some time.



It took me time to realize that I wasn't the problem; my mindset was.  Suddenly it became clear that those "truths" about me were lies. I was not some helpless victim of circumstance who needed to be saved. Nor was I a liability to any institution with which I was affiliated.

I was the asset.

When I realized that who I was, in my natural state empowered by the intellectual gifts, dynamic talents and multi-faceted lens with which I had been endowed by my Creator, made me the asset to any group or organization of which I was a part, I was emotionally free. No longer did I need to wait quietly for approval, acceptance or an invitation. I did not need the approval of others because I realized that I was free to write a different story for myself that was not limited or shaped by what others thought I was capable of or deserved, or even by how others defined success.

I said "no" to limited ideas about what others thought I could be. And I said "yes" to who I could be.

The result? I soared, becoming an Honor Roll student, award winning co-captain of the Speech and Debate Team, writer for the school newspaper, member of the yearbook committee, officer in the African-American affinity group, and even senior class president! Although I wasn't the fastest runner, I didn't let that stop me, and joined the track team. All of this, plus lasting friendships, developed from my decision to change my mindset. And it's this same mindset that carried me to success in college, law school and now my career in the field of law.

It pains me to see that so many young people of color who attend elite prep schools do not have positive outcomes.  When students feel unseen, unheard or that they don't belong, that has a negative long term impact on them and the school. Students depart from the school without their peers or the school administration ever really getting to know, appreciate or value them, and without realizing their own full potential while there. Often, students leave the school feeling detached and, in some instances, resentful of their experience.

That's what inspired me to start Black Prep.

Our mission is to help YOU understand that YOU ARE THE ASSET.  

And to provide the tools so that you can begin acting like one.

Black Prep is here to guide you through the self-doubt, the fear, the insecurity and the noise that seek to derail you from achieving your destiny. We want you to change how you see yourself.

We want YOU to know who you are.  

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