Thanks to a Scholarship from Iva and Joseph Samost, Student Finds her Family at Moore

Courtney La Prince lived in nine different foster homes before the age of 17, but at Moore, she found her family. "It has been such a long journey," she said. La Prince said that without the generous scholarship from Iva and Joseph Samost to help her pay for her education, she would not be a part of this new family. "It has been such a blessing because I was able to complete my senior year without worrying about the hardship of finances."

“I really love the school and I’m really happy,” she said. “I always wanted to feel part of a family or that people cared about me. But here I feel like they do.”

La Prince, a senior graphic design major, explores the issues of foster youth and education in her thesis presentation, now on view in The Galleries at Moore. Her thesis includes four info-graphic posters and a video documentary, where she interviews students who grew up in foster care at Arise Academy Charter High School in Philadelphia.

“Only 2 percent of foster youth graduate from college nationally,” she said. “My thesis is based on those statistics. Most foster youth say they want to go to college but only 10 percent actually enroll, and of that number only 2 percent finish. It’s sad when you think about how important college is in order to be successful.”

La Prince was born in Charleston, SC but grew up in the foster care system in Maryland. She took classes at two community colleges, studying art and design, before learning about Moore from her court appointed special advocate.

“The lady who brought me to Moore – Ann Marie Foyle Binsner – has been in my life since I got into the foster care system,” she said. “She helped me get here to Moore, not only by giving me a reference but bringing me for my tour and helping me ask for more finances. She also gave me a place to stay. She has been that support system that I was very blessed to have.”

Now La Prince hopes to shed light on other foster youth who may not have that support, particularly when it comes to attending college.

“Doing this project was me trying to figure out what the reasoning was (for them not going to college) – lack of finances, lack of support system, lack of drive… it’s all those things,” she said. “A lot of these kids don’t believe they can achieve college. They’re scared to ask for help. I told them about Moore and said ‘if I can go to college, then you can do it too.’”

La Prince has not only maintained a solid GPA while at Moore, she’s also very involved in leadership activities, from being vice president of student government to a member of the college planning committee. She’s also a graphic design tutor.

When she’s not at school, La Prince works as a graphics freelancer at Center City Fun Film & Video, where she completed her internship last summer. After graduation, she hopes to move to California and find a job in the film industry.

“I’ve struggled a lot but I appreciate every minute because it’s something I’ve been very determined to do. I’m excited to be at that point where I’m done and I know my hard work paid off. And I’m looking forward to more hard work in the future.”

Watch the video documentary from Courtney's senior thesis here:

Watch Courtney discuss her experiences at Moore:
Published on June 10th, 2013