Student of the Month: Alban Tahiraj

Student of the Month: Alban Tahiraj

With the selection of our first student of the month behind us the next month’s nominee has become a spirited topic of discussion amongst staff. It is a challenge to pick a star from a class of stars let alone an entire school of approximately 80 well-deserving students.  But a decision has been reached and after great debate Alban Tahiraj is this Student of the Month — and let us tell you why.

I am ambitious. I want my name to mean something. I want to be successful in my life.

Alban is an ambitious 19-year-old young man who, with his older brother, is being supported by his single mother in Brooklyn. He has always had a good head on his shoulders and followed the rules. He worked while attending a local community college and paid tuition out-of-pocket with the help of his mother. Each semester cost them roughly $2,000 but after one year he knew he couldn’t afford to continue. A friend recommended him to Per Scholas. “This place gives you everything including hands-on learning that I didn’t get in college,” he says of his tuition-free training at Per Scholas. “And the sixty second pitch. I learned that here and it is the reason I landed my job. I was never taught that before.”

Alban’s commitment to further his education is also the driving factor behind his success in class. He is described as a leader in class, has the second highest exam scores among his talented peers, is in class early despite his commute from Brooklyn to the Bronx every day, will complete his CompTIA A+ certification prior to graduating at the end of June, and will begin a premier job opportunity later this summer.

Through the help of the employment specialist team at Per Scholas, Alban was considered for a competitive opportunity with Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS) in partnership with Columbia University and HBO while attending Per Scholas. Dozens were interviewed and a handful were selected. Alban was one, along with two of his fellow classmates, Jon Campos and Jorge Suazo. In August he will begin a paid internship at HBO while attending classes at Columbia in the evening. A rigorous program, but an unheard of opportunity. “I am ambitious. I want my name to mean something. I want to be successful in my life,” Alban says of his future.  And based on the feedback of his instructors and peers, we know he will.

This place gives you everything including hands-on learning that I didn’t get in college.


It is no mystery that the cost of college is spiraling out of control. The “Pathways to Prosperity” study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011 notes, “Children of affluent parents are eight times more likely to earn college degrees than their low-income counterparts. Meanwhile, young adults from low-income families receive little financial or critical social-network resources that would help them make a successful transition. No wonder they are far less likely to complete in college, or enter promising careers. As income inequality continues to widen in America, so will the opportunity playing field.”

Alban will go back to college eventually, but Per Scholas is happy to have helped Alban get on a stable path right away when the cost of college was unattainable for him and his family. “My instructor taught me so much, would always challenge me,” Alban states. “This was the best decision for me.”

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