HOPE Toledo Success Milestone: The First Student Scholars Graduate with Baccalaureate Degrees 

Mario Purifie, Jr.

Special to The Truth

Two scholars from the HOPE Toledo Promise program graduated with their four-year degrees this past month. Wakeso Peterson, Jr. received his degree from Bowling Green State University on April 26, while Mario Purifie Jr. graduated from Wright State University on April 27. Both scholars graduated from Jesup W. Scott High School in Toledo in 2020 and are among the inaugural class of HOPE Toledo Promise Scholars.

HOPE Toledo Promise is the first fully funded, two-generation scholarship program in the United States. Through mentorship, wraparound support, and financial aid, the program aims to help students achieve their educational goals and break the cycle of poverty.

“Multigenerational education and community support are vital to the success of Toledo’s students, future workforce and a strong economy. We are honored and proud to see Wakeso and Mario walk across the stage and we look forward to seeing the positive impact they will make in our community and beyond,” said Shawna Woody, vice president of operations for HOPE Toledo.

Wakeso Peterson, Jr. graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor of science degree in architecture and environmental design. He is interning at SSOE Group, an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Toledo, Ohio.

Mario Purifie, Jr. graduated from Wright State University with a bachelor of arts degree in crime and justice studies with a double minor in legal studies and deaf studies. This summer, he will work with a team that facilitates grand openings for restaurants across the country in the Chick-Fil-A network.

Wakesa Peterson, Jr.

“HOPE Toledo has been a major support, guiding me through every step of my postsecondary educational journey. From early childhood education to postsecondary training, their unwavering commitment to ensuring every young person in Toledo receives a high-quality education has empowered me to pursue my dreams and create a better future for myself and my community,” said Purifie.

HOPE Toledo is a 501(c) 3 organization and encompasses HOPE Toledo Pre-K and HOPE Toledo Promise. The mission of HOPE Toledo is to work with the Toledo community to support and ensure high-quality educational experiences for all of our youth, from preschool to postsecondary and trade school, to help to create generational economic change for the betterment of our families and our community.

Currently, 36 percent of the people in the TPS district are living below the poverty line and more than 70 percent of kids in Lucas County enter kindergarten without the skills needed to learn.
This cradle-to-career approach will better serve our children and, in the long run, help our region progress toward a stronger, more educated workforce. To that end, HOPE Toledo is working with the Toledo community, through public/private partnerships and in tandem with Toledo Public Schools Washington Local Schools, other school districts, as well as a broad range of community-based agencies, to develop a plan to deliver high-quality educational experiences for all of our youth. For more information or to donate, visit hope-toledo.org.