By Amber Hunter SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Sam Rowser nearly missed his opportunity to meet the President, until he came across the deleted email from the White House inviting him to a celebration for New York educators.
Rowser, the deputy executive director of On Point for College, a college access program that serves students from the Central New York area, will meet President Obama on May 3.
“I’m excited… very excited,” Rowser said.
Wednesday marks the 17th anniversary for On Point for College and this September Rowser will take on the position as the executive director of the program, according to Rowser.
A program that started out with two employees in one small room now has two locations, Syracuse and Utica, and has served more than 7,000 people, Rowser said
“It isn’t about getting into college, but staying in college… and getting through,” Rowser said.
On Point for College budgeted $2.6 million dollars this year to continue the work of the organization. This year they will receive $400,000 in state aid for the first time, Rowser said.
The program not only helps students get into college and prepares them for their careers, but it also helps students emotionally and financially. Students are provided with transportation to and from during college breaks and also provide small grants for things like textbooks and school and dorm supplies, according to Rowser.
“Our students come from all walks of life. 30 percent of our students don’t have their parents or they are homeless,” Rowser said.
Rowser has attended student’s graduations in the past. A student who graduated from St. Bonaventure College said in a speech that she was so sad when she found out her parents were going to attend her graduation, but when she walked through the tunnel she heard Rowser and his family screaming her name, Rowser said.