Building Bridges seeks to enrich lives of African-American students

It's the year-end celebration for "Building Bridges" at Marquette University High School.

The group aims to enrich the lives of African American students and families at MUHS. There was a lot to celebrate May 8. Five of 12 graduating African American Seniors receive full-ride scholarships to college.

Another goal? Help incoming students understand the challenges they may face as minorities.

MUHS football star Jon Gaines knows first hand.

"There's always perception about you just because the color of your skin, your always fighting those negative stereotypes about yourself," he said. 

Gaines wants new students to remember their responsibility.

"Every single thing you do there's going to be kids watching you both of color and not of color--you want to set an example you want to be the best person that you can be your not just representing yourself, your representing everyone who comes here after you," he said. 

Gaines played tackle for the Hilltoppers. He was number 77. The senior will play football at UCLA, one of the best PAC 12 schools in the country. He got a full scholarship and plans to major in political science.

"I'm excited, I'm very excited, of course I love it here it's a great place. But we go to high school to get to college and this school sets you up for that.I'm just ready to jump to the next milestone," he said. 

Gaines credits his mom and dad for motivating him.

"My dad really didn't have the best high school experience. He faced a lot of racial prejudice he showed me how to persist with everybody's preconceived notions about you," he said. "My mom's probably one of the most compassionate people you'll ever meet in your life, they really just formed me into a good leader."

Gains admits he's bittersweet about the future and a little something to which most Wisconsinites can relate.

"I'm just ready to get out to the California weather."

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