Constance F. Horton
Place of Residence: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Why she is a local hero: For the last six years, Horton has led the Fund for Advancement of Minorities Through Education (FAME), a Pittsburgh group that pays for minorities to go to high-quality schools, as executive director.
The problems and the solution were related. Greater Pittsburgh had relatively few African Americans in leadership positions, and its high-quality independent schools had very few minority students. Feeling that the two issues were connected, FAME was formed. They started out in the 1994-1995 school year with one scholar each at five different schools. Today, there are 65 scholars at six different schools, and all 76 graduates from the program have gone on to college.
Overseeing that growth has been Horton, who is committed to helping children reach their maximum potential.
“The young men and women who represent this organization never cease to amaze me. Their persistence, work ethic, sense of hope, and sense of humor is inspiring and energizing. I am so proud to be involved in the lives of FAME Scholars and always so excited to share their success with our supporters,” said Horton.
In addition to the number of students FAME serves, services are also offered to current scholars and alumni. Once students get into a preparatory school, they are not on their own. FAME offers tutoring, moral support, and community service opportunities. The kids are also taught leadership skills. It’s all part of an effort to have them understand how community should work.
“It’s important for kids to see people that come from the community they come from that have done what they are doing now,” Horton told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “They need to see that there is a path to success that is very possible for them to take.”
FAME graduates have gone on to Harvard, Temple, and Penn State among other top schools. Hopefully, some will return to their community and find a way to contribute as Horton has.