Co-Founder • Advisory Board Member
A lot has changed since FCE founder Chris Roe started up the organization with Glenn Singleton in the early 90s. In the 25 years since FCE got off the ground, Chris has moved most of the way across the country to New Orleans, has become a “big time parent” of two six year olds, and has mostly stepped away from FCE, though he still serves on the advisory board and attends strategy session meetings. In those 25 years, Chris has seen FCE students become wildly successful adults with high aspirations, has worked with other educational nonprofits, and has gained new perspective.
Chris watches other educational organizations in New Orleans from afar, and has noticed that many have the lone goal of getting kids into college. While these organizations have achieved their lone goal at a high rate, their students often lack the network of support necessary to graduate at a high rate. “If FCE had been here, [a high rate of college dropouts] wouldn’t have happened or there wouldn’t have been that level of severity, that level of life challenges.” Though Chris admits that comparing a small sample of similar organizations is hardly a controlled scientific experiment, it has provided Chris with a vision of an “alternate reality” in which FCE didn’t choose its successful holistic model. He hasn’t just gained perspective from watching similar organizations, however.
Now that Chris is a father and is working on building his own family, he realizes that reconnecting with FCE feels like reconnecting with an extended family. What’s more, his extended FCE family continually impresses him. He particularly remembers one student, who was a shy but gifted part of FCE in the early years of the program. When Chris attended FCE’s ten year anniversary, he was pleasantly surprised to see that her job title was city councilperson of East Palo Alto. She would later serve as mayor. For Chris, it is “incredibly gratifying to see [the alumni] grow up and become leaders”. He hopes that in the next chapter of the organization, FCE can help other educational organizations implement their successful holistic model.