TOWN OF DICKINSON (WBNG) — Clyde Van Dyke is no stranger to defying the odds.
“In the fifth grade, they were talking about how African-Americans and Hispanics like myself don’t usually graduate in high percentages. That really brought me down and I didn’t think I would get very far (in life),” Van Dyke said.
In addition to his race, Van Dyke’s mother died when he was three, and he comes from a lower socioeconomic background. When he joined the local 4-H program however, his life changed forever.
“With 4-H, it has definitely changed my view on education because before, coming from a hard family with low income and a mother dying when I was young, 4-H taught me that education is important,” he said.
Van Dyke won the national 4-H Youth In Action STEM award for his work in mapping the impact of the opioid epidemic across the country from 2000-2016. He will be honored at the national 4-H Gala in Washington, D.C. in March.
Van Dyke is a student at Johnson City High School as well as a P-Tech student at Broome-Tioga BOCES. Given his new found love for education, he plans on attending SUNY Delhi to study digital forensics in the fall.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what color skin you have, you determine where you want to be. You can make that positive change in the community, and just know you can make a difference in the world,” Van Dyke said.