Four years gone: What these Philadelphia Futures grads have learned about family, life, and leadership

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Farrad McLaughlin, (left), and Chris Felix, (right), are scholars from Philadelphia Futures, a program that helps first generation college students graduate. McLaughlin just earned his Master’s Degree from Cabrini University and Felix just graduated cum laude from Lafayette College. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

Farrad McLaughlin, (left), and Chris Felix, (right), are scholars from Philadelphia Futures, a program that helps first generation college students graduate. McLaughlin just earned his Master’s Degree from Cabrini University and Felix just graduated cum laude from Lafayette College. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

West Philadelphia’s Farrad McLaughlin, 26, was crushed when he lost his older brother to gun violence a decade ago. But since that moment, he’s been determined not to be defined by his environment.

So too, for Chris Felix, 22, the son of a single mother from Northeast Philly who emigrated from Haiti.

Both are first generation college students who WHYY featured in a story in 2014 about the Philadelphia Futures mentorship program.

Then, McLaughlin — who went to Sayre High School — had just completed his undergraduate degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Farrad McLaughlin shown here in 2014 after graduating from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

And Felix had just earned a diploma from Northeast High School.

Chris Felix shown here in 2014 after graduating from Northeast High School (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

Four years later, McLaughlin recently finished his masters in leadership at Cabrini University, and Felix graduated cum laude from Lafayette College — a job with Lincoln Financial Group in hand.

In a NewsWorks Tonight interview, guest host Kevin McCorry caught up with the pair to discuss what it’s like to make mom proud and how to be a pillar for a younger generation surrounded by poverty and violence.

Listen to the full interview above.

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