Joshua Sibblies has always been curious. Most of the stories of his childhood involve him tinkering with something: taking apart all the remote controls in the house and trying, with varying success, to put them back together; mixing different soaps and powders together just to see what would happen; building contraptions out of K’NEX and throwing them out of the top floor window to see if they would survive the landing. He didn’t necessarily care about the results; the thrill of learning new things was what drove him, and that stuck with him throughout his entire life.
In high school, he took only the most challenging courses, and by the end of his senior year he will have amassed thirty-six college credits. He has been published by the Oxford University Press in Harvard University’s African-American National Biography, and he has already been notified of his early acceptance into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although school has always been his first priority, he also has several passions including the bass guitar, track and field, jazz music, Science Bowl, volunteering with the National Honor Society, and his school’s literary magazine, Writer’s Bloc.
In the summer of 2009, he traveled to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to participate in the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program. There, he took part in the most difficult classes and excelled in all of them, earning the Edna and Leon Trilling Award for Overall Academic Excellence. Spending his summer at MITES was not just a life changing experience— it also affirmed his belief that education was the key to personal success. This also helped him realize that a community that doesn’t value education is doomed to failure.
Through volunteering as a tutor both with the National Honor Society and on his own, Joshua realized that many of his peers did not share his opinion of the importance of education. He was ridiculed by his peers for his desire to learn, and although at times he was tempted to give up, he stayed firm in his belief that education was essential to life. Most of these peers struggled academically when they were young, developed a dislike of school, and now risk not graduating from high school. If someone had been there to encourage them to learn, like Joshua’s mother did with him, they might not be facing the problems they have today.
A combination of all of these factors has made it Joshua’s goal to establish educational programs like those of his role model, Geoffrey Canada, who has virtually closed the achievement gap between black and white students in Harlem, New York. It is Joshua’s firm belief that without reform in the current education system, America’s youth will be left behind in the wake of a rapidly advancing world and he refuses to let this happen.