Austin Waite

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Austin is known around the X-Cel community as being one of the hardest working students in our 17 year history. He grew up in Manchester, Jamaica, and entered the workforce as a wood worker at the age of 15. By 18, Austin was enrolled in the Jamaica Police Academy, where he trained for six months and worked with their traffic, investigation and homicide departments for seven years. While in the police force, Austin attended St. George's College, a high school in Jamaica, but was unable to complete his courses. He notes, "I had many responsibilities at an early age, and this has helped to mold me into a responsible man."

In the mid-1980s, Austin immigrated to the United States and lived with his mother in New York. He immediately started trade school in New York City, where he earned certificates in word processing and data entry. By the late 1980s, Austin moved to Boston and decided to make it his home. He raised his two daughters and one son, and worked two jobs to take care of them. 

By the mid-1990s, Austin started a new role as a supervisor at a real estate company. In early 2007, he additionally earned his real estate license and worked as a sales agent in the area on the side. By January 2014, with his kids grown up, Austin began to think seriously about further education. "I always dreamed of furthering my education, but my family responsibilities always came first." In February, Austin began attending classes at X-Cel's Bowdoin Street site in Dorchester, and attended class every Tuesday and Thursday, studying math and English. "The program was so great I tried not to miss a class. My educational skills increased as the weeks turned into to months, and I began to feel a sense of pride."

While still working full time, Austin studied relentlessly at X-Cel for three years. In his final year at
X-Cel, he not only came to evening classes Monday through Thursday, but sought additional help and material to keep momentum each and every weekend. Austin was particularly fascinated with mathematics. He came to class with with a very high level of intensity, seeking not to merely memorize formulas or figure out shortcuts to problems, but rather to master concepts. Indeed, he was excited by the challenge of the increased rigor of Massachusetts' revised high school equivalency exam. 

Austin earned his HiSET credential in November 2016 and immediately enrolled in X-Cel's College Prep program, which helps students prepare for placement exams and learn critical soft skills to succeed in post-secondary programs. In January 2017, Austin started classes at Roxbury Community College in its associate of science in criminal justice program. He plans to graduate in November 2018, and use his degree to fight crime in Jamaica. "My plan is to retire and travel frequently to the land of my birth to help with the rapid increase of crime. I will use my college education to help my country which is in short supply of this skill." His advice to other students: "Make education an integral part of your life."