Williams had heard of neither of Colby nor Posse when his guidance counselor sent him to that fated interview five years ago. In the last four years he worked with seven different student organizations, including the South End Coalition, where he mentored disadvantaged teenagers in Waterville. He paraphrased his South End conversations like this:
"Dude, what are you doing? You want to be a roughneck? I'll tell you what a roughneck is. . I'm from the Bronx, New York—you can't tell me about being bad. I know what bad is, buddy, and this ain't it. So don't tell me that you can't do something because of the environment and your situation. That's garbage.—
Colby Posse scholars pose for a group portrait at a reception for the graduating members of Posse I in May. From left, standing, Jairus Steed '06, Antonio Mendez '06, Victoria Yuan '07, Angie Polanco '08, Chelsea Downs '06, William Fong '08, Rebecca Travis '07, Jeronimo Maradiaga '09, Jia Chen '06. Kneeling, from left, Dan Lin '07, and George Williams '06.
Photo by Fred Field
Between finals and job interviews with a pharmaceutical company, Williams sat down to talk about Posse. And toward the end of the interview he paused and said, "Let me tell you a story.—
Williams recounted the propitious process that propelled him to Colby.
He remembered calling on his experience as a high school wrestler to psych himself up for sessions with Posse and Colby interviewers. In one interview he bared his soul, telling the panel, "You need to give this to me because I'm not going to stop until I get it.— When President Adams shook his hand and wished him luck, Williams hung on tight. "I'm not going to let go of your hand until you give me this scholarship,— he recalled thinking at the time. "This is mine.
"I was trying to tell them, you can take a chance on any of these kids here, but you take a chance with this kid, he's going to be the most voracious, he's going to take this place on.—
They did, and he did. And he ended up contributing to the community and learning some things about himself at the same time.
"Four years later I'm looking back and I'm realizing that my voice would never be an average Colby voice. And that's okay, because the voice that I have now is the voice of George Anthony Williams, a New York City kid who attended Colby College. And that's all I could have asked for.—For more information on the Posse program, visit the Posse Foundation Web site.