Nothing about Norris’ education was easy. By the time he graduated from Skyline High school in Oakland, Norris and his twin sister had attended eleven schools in twelve years. But they figured out early on that doing well in school was the only way they’d have a different life when they grew up.
So far, it’s working out that way. Norris put himself through Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, with help from Hebrew Free Loan and Oakland Promise. He graduated in 2018 with a degree in construction management, and his sister graduated from UC Berkeley. He now works as a Project Engineer at Truebeck Construction, and eventually hopes to have his own commercial real estate firm.
“Hebrew Free Loan helped me pay my tuition and stay in school when I didn’t know where else to turn. It would have taken me a lot longer to graduate without their help, because I would have had to take time off school to work.”
Giving back is a core value for Norris. Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, he’s in line to become a big brother to a young person in Oakland as soon as Covid-19 restrictions ease. His long-term vision is to create a scholarship for students who face challenging circumstances like he did.