The Posse Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship that recruits students nationwide. Posse presents Malden scholars with the opportunity to attend one of four colleges and asks them to rank the options. The four college options for Malden High School students are Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Centre College and Union College. According to their website, Posse’s three goals are to diversify the pool of students in which top colleges recruit their applicants, help institutions of higher education become more welcoming for people from all backgrounds and to make sure that Posse scholars continue to do their best and persevere onto their graduation so that they can show off their leadership skills in the workforce.
Each year, Posse receives thousands of nominees and uses a “unique evaluation method” called The Dynamic Assessment Process. This process is equipped to identify nominees who can excel at selective colleges and universities but might have not been considered to be eligible applicants at these institutions due to not meeting traditional admissions criteria. The Dynamic Assessment Process consists of three rounds that include both large-group and individual interviews and determine who the finalists are.
One of the finalists this year is Tales Carneiro Passos, a senior at Malden High School. Throughout his high school career, Passos pretty much got all As and Bs. During freshman year he did crew and for junior year he did indoor track. Passos was also planning on participating in outdoor track but, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, it was not possible.
Passos was nominated by his brother, Pedro Carneiro Passos, who was also a Posse scholar from the class of 2019. Out of the four colleges, Passos ranked Bucknell University as his first choice, however he says, “[he is] not the one who ultimately gets to pick.” He went on to explain that “on the second round, [Posse asks] ‘what colleges are you most interested in?’ and [they] try to pair [scholars] up with that college, if possible.” He adds that “there are only 20 available finalist slots for each school, so sometimes [scholars] might not get [their] first choice, maybe [they will] get [their] second choice. If it really comes down to it, [scholars] might end up with [their] third choice unfortunately but [Posse is] pretty good at pairing [the scholars] up with [their] first choice.”
In the future, “[Passos wants] to do a double major in political science and sociology with a minor in economics because [he wants] to apply to law school, become a lawyer and eventually have [his] own firm.” He decided on this career path because, “[he] wants to help people who cannot afford to pay for legal support since this is something he struggled with.” Passos found out he wanted to go into the field of law when he was in a history class in sophomore year. He was participating in a mock trial and realized how interested he was so he decided to join mock trial as a class for the following years.
Cara Joyce, a teacher in the math department at the Malden High School, used to be Passos’s Math 2 CP teacher with co-teacher, Jo-Ann Cassidy. Joyce now teaches him in AP Statistics. She stated that ”[she] quickly noticed how much of a great learner and participator [Passos] was. He was very inquisitive and really liked helping his classmates by sharing his ideas with others.” Passos also enjoyed understanding other ideas, Joyce explained that “if a student did something differently, he would try to understand their method and help empower that other student to share their idea.”
Passos was actually her inspiration in a fellowship that she was in with Tufts University to create a cohort. Joyce realized that the Malden High School needed more diversity and more representation from black and brown students in AP Math and Science classes, so she started doing some research about how to get more students of color into upper level classes. She noticed that Passos, as well as some other students, fit this criteria and had the potential to be moved into honors so she, as well as some other Math 2 CP teachers, created a cohort and the students began to do some accelerated math over the summer. These students were all put into the same Math 3 Honors class with Math teacher, Sarah Jones, the following year. Together, as a group, they all transitioned from Math 2 CP to Math 3 Honors. They also regularly met with Joyce to get help, support, and to keep her updated on how things were going. According to Joyce, Passos quickly became the leader of that cohort and they were really successful.
Joyce added, “[Passos] was always advocating for [his classmates] and speaking up for them. If [Passos] felt like anyone was struggling or needed help, [Passos] would reach out to them, or to [Joyce] or [Passos] would reach out to Jones.”
Joyce admires that “[Passos is] clearly invested in this plan to increase enrollment of students of color in these upper level classes and [she thinks] that [his] fearlessness to put ideas out there is, for sure, a trait that Posse noticed.”