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Six Out of Six Students Accepted to Berea College with Free Tuition

Persistence is key. It’s what makes Brian Talbert, College Readiness Coordinator at Oyler, so successful in his connections with students at Oyler School. 

“I start right away with working with these kids on getting them to college,” Talbert says. “ I bribe them with food, text them, take them to job interviews, whatever it takes to get them to that dream future for them.”  

Talbert’s job has him working directly with students in preparation for life after high school. This includes pursuing higher education or a career path. 

This year, Talbert encouraged six students to apply for the highly competitive Berea College. After months of waiting, each came back with acceptance letters to the no-tuition school. Oyler has only had one student accepted into the school in its history. 

“It was hard to believe at first,” said Paulayzsa Kelly, senior at Oyler. “I knew I was there academically, but actually seeing the offer made it all real. To have Berea acknowledge me as a top scholar they wanted was so validating.” 

Kelly believes that her creative thinking and academics led Berea to choose her over other applicants. While it was her skills that set her apart from others, she says it was Mr. Talbert who inspired her to reach for this achievement. 

“Mr. Talbert and some of the other staff members at Oyler really care about things happening outside the classroom and at home. Not a lot of other students have those people looking over their shoulder, and for me to have so many that can give me this opportunity, I am completely grateful.”

Despite Kelly’s acceptance to UC, Xavier, NKU and other universities, she plans on attending Berea come Fall.   

Paulayzsa Kelly