Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Two Males Go to Head of Class at Clark Atlanta University

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Two Males Go to Head of Class at Clark Atlanta University

Article excerpt

It's a man's world at Clark Atlanta University as two male students took top honors in the graduating class of 2013.

Despite being outnumbered 3-to-1 by their female counterparts, valedictorian Lorin Crawford and his roommate, salutatorian Tam Quach, earned the highest grade point averages among all students--a rarity the school claims has occurred for the first time in recent history. Their academic excellence shatters some common statistics and stereotypes about the gender gap in college.

Reports indicate that men enter college at lower rates than women and are more likely to drop out. Nationally, female enrollment hovers near 60 percent and 61.5 percent at the nation's 100 accredited Black colleges and universities, according to the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.

Statistics enthusiast Crawford did not set out to smash any; he simply wanted to perform his best.

"I just wanted to learn as much as I possibly could and make straight A's," says the mathematics major, who finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA. "A lot of men see life as now; they live in the moment, and that's where a lot of mistakes happen."

To avoid the trappings of freshman freedom, Crawford, a Chino Hills, Calif., native, eliminated distractions--even declining to have a television in his dorm room--to focus on his studies. He took a lot of notes during class and rewrote them before studying to better retain the material. He practiced extra homework problems, read ahead and met often with his professors.

Crawford met Quach during their freshman year in 2009, following above average, but not outstanding, high school careers. The two became friends a year later during an honors program retreat after discovering they shared a thirst for knowledge and a strong desire to achieve academically and professionally.

By their senior year, the honors program "brothers" decided to become roommates.

"I feel like he's been a huge part of my success because you are the company you keep," Crawford says of his on-campus housing mate. "Being around someone who is trying to achieve their best pushes you to do your best. Our relationship will extend way past CAU."

Quach agrees.

"Sometimes in school you can get overloaded and stressed out," says Quach, a criminal justice major who finished with a 3.92 GPA. "The people at CAU really care about you and make themselves available to you. That's one of the biggest factors that have helped me to stay in school and stay focused."

Quach moved from Vietnam about 11 years ago with his family, and, although he grew up just outside Atlanta in Morrow, Ga. …

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