In 2009, will.i.am met high school students on the set of Oprah. At the time, the boys were struggling to find the finances to go to college. They were hard working and aspirational young men, but the cold hard numbers of a college education were proving too much for the boys to overcome.
Their names were Jaiquann, Elijah, Darien and Barien. And they have made the most of the opportunity that has been afforded them by the benevolent contributions of will.i.am.
Each came from hardship and through perseverance and fortune, they are off to live the life they worked so hard to achieve.
Jaiquann has earned a degree in education from Cabrini College and is a teacher. Elijah has graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is now working in the architectural field. Darien is currently attending Morgan State University in Baltimore and will graduate with an industrial engineering degree next year. Barien is completing pharmacy school and is set to graduate in 2016.
The boys appeared on “Oprah:Where Are They Now?” to check in on the progress and are a clear indication of what dedication, hard work and opportunity can amount to. Now they are trying to give back some the inspiration that they received.
“We’ve been going to a lot of elementary, middle and high school just talking to the youth about how important it is to maintain high grades, how important it is to go to college,” said Jaiquann. “Basically, do whatever it takes to follow your dreams and meet your goals in life.”