Deval Patrick, two-term governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will be the guest preacher at the 10:00am Sunday worship service on November 16th at First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan.
Governor Patrick came from a modest background, raised by his single mother on the South Side of Chicago where he excelled in school. At the age of fourteen, he received a scholarship to Milton Academy, an elite boarding school in Massachusetts, through the Boston-based scholarship program A Better Chance. It was this scholarship that helped pave the way for this motivated young man to leave the difficult and sometimes violent Chicago school system and eventually become the first member of his family to attend college, initially Harvard College followed by Harvard Law School.
A Better Chance (also known as ABC) was founded in 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, by a group of headmasters of selective independent schools who saw a need to change the profiles of their student bodies to include more racial and economic diversity. These headmasters wanted to broaden their enrollment to include minority students who were economically disadvantaged but academically able. Today there are more than 300 participating boarding, day, and public schools educating almost 2,000 scholars. Scholarship recipients are chosen based on motivation and academic achievement; 67% are African-American and more than 65% are from single-parent homes. Locally, New Canaan currently houses 8 boys in grades 9-12 who attend New Canaan High School, and Wilton has 5 girls and 7 boys who attend Wilton High School.
Governor Patrick embodies the stated mission of A Better Chance, to educate economically-disadvantaged young people “who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.” After graduating Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal judge, then led a successful career in the private sector as an attorney and business executive, rising to senior executive positions at Texaco and Coca-Cola. In 1994, President Clinton tapped Patrick to become Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation’s top civil rights post. Today he is completing his second term as Governor of Massachusetts, having been first elected in 2006.
First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, 178 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840 / 203 966-0002