A sports injury sidelined BJ Vann's athletic career but didn't deter him from attending
college through SBVC's Valley-Bound Commitment program.
Three years ago, Bryjan (BJ) Vann was a high school sophomore and a budding sports
The San Bernardino High School student thought an athletic scholarship was his only
chance of attending college.
“I told myself that if I didn’t get a scholarship from sports, there’s no way I could
afford college,” BJ said.
As one of 10 kids in his family, BJ grew up in rough neighborhoods and learned a lot
about survival in a relatively short amount of time.
“Days after moving into our new apartment, a neighbor was murdered and I still remember
the blood being hosed off the sidewalk,” BJ said. “Washing clothes by hand, sleeping
on the floor—that’s nothing new to me.”
A football injury revealed an irregularity in his brain and because of the risk of
permanent injury, a doctor told BJ to avoid all types of contact sports.
BJ said it was during his junior year of high school that he seriously thought about
college. By the time he was a senior, he wanted to coach and teach but didn’t consider
college because of finances.
That all changed when he heard about the newly-expanded Valley-Bound Commitment program
that provides the first year of college free for local high school students.
BJ applied, was accepted and started taking classes as one of 89 freshmen in the SBVC
program in August 2009.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity and am looking forward to giving back to the community,”
BJ said. “Others in my family ask themselves, ‘Why me?’, but I’m into asking ‘Why
not?’ I hope that I can share that perspective and some of my life experiences as
a coach and teacher to help other kids deal with the challenges in their life.”