Catching Up With Jalen Bradley (’19)

What does ROBS mean to me? ROBS is an important part of my foundation. The School, along with my family, shaped me as a person and gave me the tools to navigate high school and beyond. There’s more to education that just academics. The faith-based education at ROBS, its focus on character and the Fruits of the Spirit helped me become a whole person. I’m grateful that ROBS helped nurture my faith in God. Not everyone in high school has that foundation. Because of ROBS, I felt completely prepared for my transition to St. John’s.

ROBS was the starting point for all my activities in high school. Early in freshmen year, I was elected to Student Council. I learned to overcome my fear of public speaking by participating in Student Council at ROBS. ROBS provided me a safe space for me to develop my skillset. I wasn’t afraid of failing or being judged. My love for basketball and track began at ROBS. My very first race was the Turkey Trot, and all those Lap Days paid off. I enjoyed showing prospective families around ROBS as a Good Will Ambassador. As a result, I joined the Tour Guild at St. John’s and eventually served as its chair. Through projects like Kids Meals and the Food Bank, ROBS taught me the value of community service. I carried this passion to serve other in high school, even though community service is optional at St. John’s. I served as an Officer on the Community Service Board.

I think it’s advantageous that ROBS ends in eighth grade. Many of my high school peers were “lifers” who seemed a little hesitant about moving on to college. Having to change schools after eighth grade prepared me well for other transitions. Graduation isn’t “goodbye”; it’s “see you later.” Relationships change and evolve, and you can stay in touch with people you care about. I’m not stressed about moving across the country because I’m ready for what’s next.

I’m heading to Yale to study Global Affairs and Spanish. I had only been to the Northeast a couple of times before I visited several Ivy League schools, so I didn’t realize Southern hospitality isn’t the norm everywhere. But I felt welcome on campus in New Haven. Yale has the high academic standards I wanted, and it’s a very diverse community. It feels like home.

I have confidence that I can handle whatever challenged come my way, and I attribute that to my family and ROBS. Both constantly reinforced the idea of continuous growth: try, fail, get back up, and try again. That mindset keeps me level. I’m contemplating law or international business after college. Thanks to ROBS, I know I can achieve my goals.

To my ROBS teachers, I want to say:

Thank you for helping me develop my love for learning. ROBS teachers have a passion for their subjects that’s contagious. I also appreciate how welcome the teachers and faculty made me feel. When I started at ROBS at age four, I was the only African American male in my class. I was too young to fully understand what race was, but I could feel people cared about me and I belonged. That made me trust and love ROBS.

Join Us!