News and Events
By Jaclyn Tully
As a child in Baltimore, Maryland, Katrina Scott (Seaver College, 2003) had always dreamt of leaving the inner-city and living a better life with more opportunities. Upon receiving a full scholarship offer from Pepperdine, the internal debate began. She had to choose to stay in her hometown and attend Johns Hopkins University, or move to a Southern California beach town that was vastly different from the urban, north eastern district of Baltimore in which she grew up.
Luckily for Pepperdine, Scott accepted the idea of leaving her neighborhood to live in Malibu among some of the richest people and the highest valued real estate in the country—with reservations, of course. However, Scott knew that there was a bigger plan for her, and that most importantly, she would be attending a Christian school.
While at Pepperdine, Scott considered her future. She thought of being a magazine editor or a college professor, as opposed to her childhood dream of becoming a schoolteacher. But there is a scripture that Pepperdine students quickly become familiar with. “Freely ye receive, freely give.” Seaver College students living on campus see that verse, Pepperdine’s motto, every day on a wall in the cafeteria. So when watching a movie about high school teachers Scott recalls, “It was that simple, I said to myself, oh yeah, that’s what I wanted to do.”
When presented with the idea of returning to her hometown to teach for a low-income, problem-plagued high school, Scott signed herself up without hesitation. If she was going to teach high school, she knew she had to go back to where she started—back to a place that gave her so much. She is now “Miss Scott,” teaching freshman English at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, only minutes from her own high school.
Shedding the desire to be financially successful, which occupies the minds of most college graduates, Scott has chosen another path—determined to be living proof that inner-city kids can achieve their dreams. “When I show my students pictures of places I had been in Los Angeles, they either don’t believe I grew up here in the hood or they don’t believe I went to Pepperdine, but I learned that until you know more, you can’t want more.”
Today, Scott is mindful of being a living example to her 145 students that there is more out there. Each day she provides a reality that life offers endless opportunities, not just the attainment of financial wealth, but the attainment of cultural, academic, and spiritual fortune.
This article first appeared in the Pepperdine Voice Magazine, Fall 2004.