Crossing the Tightrope of Success
At the age of three, Philippe Clesca, of West Orange, became a tightrope walker when it came to his emotions. He recalls the days just before his parentsâ€™ divorce, which he spent fearing he would lose his father forever. Contrary to his beliefs, however, his father ended up remaining a big part of his life.
His father became his â€śbalance rod,â€ť as he helped Clesca with the problems of life through constant communication and guidance. His mom served as his â€śsafety net,â€ť as she ran a strict household and provided him with the upbringing that turned him into a responsible young man.
â€śMy parents gave me the confidence that I can achieve anything I set my mind to,â€ť says Clesca. â€śI was an honor roll student. I took part in a statewide competition called SkillsUSA and placed fourth in the state in the computer programming category.â€ť
A Community of Support
Given his familyâ€™s modest income, Clesca chose to enroll at County College of Morris (CCM) and study computer science because the college is both affordable and offers the resources he needed to succeed. He was not disappointed.
â€śThe professors are willing to help and know what they are doing,â€ť he says. â€śStudents at CCM also support each other and are ready to form study groups to collaborate on assignments.â€ť
His financial situation, while modest, did not qualify him for federal or state grants. He was fortunate, however, to receive a scholarship through the CCM Foundation.
â€śThe scholarship options at CCM are vast and open to a broad spectrum of students,â€ť says Clesca. â€śMy scholarship helped alleviate the pressure I faced trying to pay for school and will also reduce what I will owe in student loans after college.â€ť
A Vision for the Future
Following his graduation from CCM, Clesca hopes to transfer to MIT for his bachelorâ€™s degree in computer engineering. His plan is to develop a project that heâ€™s been working on into a business.
â€śI see myself as a successful tech mogul, owning a company and designing new products that change the world,â€ť he says. â€śI am a better person despite the curveball that life threw at me.” Now, he’s more inspired than ever to negotiate life’s tightropes to achieve success.