Louis Gould grew up in Prince Edward County and graduated from, as he calls it, “the great purple and gold, Prince Edward County High School” in 2009. Afterwards, he went on to attendea four-year university but financial and personal issues proved barriers. Wanting to get back to school, he decided to attend Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) starting in 2013.
Gould graduated from SVCC with his Associate degree in education.
He said, “SVCC helped me get back on my feet.”
One person that helped during his time at SVCC was Stephen Walker, history instructor.
Gould said, “Mr. Walker was very helpful and one of the reasons I wanted to pursue history as my major. He made things fun but also made sure you worked hard and understood the material. Even after I graduated, I came back to SVCC to visit. He had encouraging words for me and also gave me a bunch of material to help me with lesson plans and things for the future.”
Reflecting on his experience, Gould said, “(SVCC) brought me back to life and put me on track to get back into school to further my education.”
When asked for advice for future students, Gould replied, “SVCC is a good place to start. Sometimes you are not ready for a four-year institution. That could be financially or even mentally. SVCC can help you with both.”
His academic journey did not stop there. He went on to attend Longwood University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history. Having accepted a position at Prince Edward County Middle School, he will soon realize his goal of becoming a history teacher.
Not only is he a two-time college graduate, Louis also co-founded the Fresh Boyz Club (FBC) in June of 2008 and is currently the President. He said that the club was originally founded with the purpose of entertainment and spending time with like-minded, driven people.
Now, Gould says, “After some years of college, that’s when I actually saw the true potential that it (the club) had. Ever since then, I’ve been pushing and striving to make FBC a staple in my community and working to expand my vision into other communities as well. Our purpose is to create and mold positive and productive young men into our society, while making sure they serve as positive role models to the younger generation. If we can mold the next generation and make sure they are molded right, our future of this world is bright.”
In order to mold these young men, FBC volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity in Prince Edward. They hold their own community events such as Honor Roll Appreciation Events every nine weeks where students who earned honor roll are recognized. For Mother’s Day, FBC puts together a luncheon, free to guests, in which all mothers attending receive roses and homemade cards. For Thanksgiving, FBC serves a thanksgiving style meal to the community which is also free to guests. In addition, the club holds a “Back 2 School Giveaway” where parents enter their child’s name for a chance to win school supplies for the entire first semester of school.
FBC meets on the last Sunday of each month at the Holiday Inn in Prince Edward. There are between 19 and 25 active members with the youngest in ninth grade. There is also a Fresh Boyz Junior club which begins in second grade.
Long term goals of the group include spreading across surrounding counties and continuing with the mission to create positive, productive young minds into our society.
A few words of wisdom from Gould: “Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Make them but learn from them. That’s how you get molded into an individual that becomes successful. Successful people are those who are not afraid to fail, those who are not afraid to make a mistake. It’s comes with the process. Just make sure you learn and don’t repeat that mistake again. Don’t be afraid.”
Also, he said, “Learn and read a lot. Never stop learning and never stop reading. Learn something new every day and read!”