John Hollis is the director of the Minority Engineering Regional Incentive Training (MERIT) Program, a college prep program aimed at middle and high school minority students. Students meet weekly during the school year and attend a summer program at Delaware Tech. Projects are engineering-focused, such as working with Delmarva Power engineers to build and program robots. 97% of students in the program go on to higher education, many receiving significant scholarships.
“Educators are instruments to create individual environments where students believe in and activate their full potential.”
Community Leader, Director of MERIT Program
In his own words…
Excellent public education is important because it provides the key to future success and careers.
My proudest moments as a champion of education happen when I see students maximize their educational potential going from a middle school student with self-doubt to achieving success in college and beyond.
I created the Minority Engineering Regional Incentive Training (MERIT) program because minority matriculation to four-year colleges in the early ‘70’s was minimal. In cooperation with DuPont Fibers in Seaford, a proactive program focused on academic achievement, critical thinking, and college preparation was founded.
I am a Delaware educator because I felt called to give back through obtaining my bachelor’s and advanced degrees and establish successful careers.
Educators are instruments to create individual environments where students believe in and activate their full potential.
My most memorable moment as a student was realizing the joy of academic achievement.
I am the director of the MERIT program, which has been in existence since 1975 and is aimed at minorities in engineering. The program starts at 6th grade as a college prep program, has extensive parental involvement, a success rate of 97%, and extensive community support.
In this program, I have seen students develop highly successful habits for academic achievement and college preparation, and proactive “I can” philosophies toward higher education.
The most exciting thing others can learn about this project is if you start the academic enhancement, self-believe programming and the college preparation process early (6th grade), students from all backgrounds can and will place a high priority on academic achievement and higher education. The active involvement of parents is also key. Our graduating seniors have earned over $1 million in scholarships over the last three years.
Pushing the envelope means creating an environment where students discover their educational potential despite challenging circumstances.