BALTIMORE - Students at Forest Park High School are learning about filtration, DNA and bacteria. It is a part of the Building STEPS Program.
It helps inner city students reach a career in math and science.
"I learned how to open my mind to other possibilities. Before my 11th grade year, I had nothing to do with Biology. I didn't care about it at all, but thankfully one trip we had to a lab and I didn't like it. I thought about it and decided to become a Biochemist," said Curtis Bright, a rising college freshman.
17-year-old Curtis Bright is attending Saint Mary's College in the fall. He plans to study Biochemistry and Political Science.
He has a personal reason for wanting to become a Biochemist and someday find a cure for cancer.
"One main reason is because my father and my sister died from cancer. I always wanted to find a way to find a cure for this devastating disease. This is one of my main priorities in life," said Bright.
How is building steps helping?
Building STEPS is a multi-year program that helps classroom learning with seminars, summer internships, college counseling and alumni services. It's a two year program for juniors and seniors that offers education in science, math and technology.
Many of the students in the program are first generation college students.
"This is so important because in Baltimore City the chances of kids going to college and getting out of college from some of our schools is slim," said Debra Hettleman, Executive Director of Building STEPS.
Each student has their own unique set of circumstances. Some are homeless, in foster care, some can't afford college and Building STEPS gives them a chance.
"It's really tough. My mom didn't graduate from High School. I had no one to turn too. She didn't understand. I face a lot of different struggles with gang violence and people disrupting classes. Building STEPS is a good way to reach out and help people," said Bright.
More than 80 percent of Building STEPS students head to college. Building STEPS nurtures students like Curtis to help them one day return to their urban community and give back.
Building STEPS is available in five Baltimore City Schools.
250 students have graduated from the program.