The Life and Future of Zachary J. Peques
He's the man parents want their children to be. Zachary Peques is an advocate and entrepreneur.
"The community is my first priority."
Zachary moved 1,200 miles from home to attend Hampton University and it was well worth it. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Marketing.
Even though he's away from Milwaukee, Zachary is always thinking of ways he can help out his city. As many people know, there aren't many Historically Black College Universities (HBCU's) in the Midwest, so Zachary contacted his friends from other HBCUs who attended Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for an event. At his old high school, Rufus King, Zachary and his friends had an HBCU college fair, where students got real life experiences about HBCUs from people just like them.
"My plan was never to abandon Milwaukee."
Zachary is the perfect role model especially for those minority kids who don't have hope. He's showing his community and those around him anything is possible.
"I'm truly blessed."
He and a partner created a business: Rich before 25, which teaches financial literacy. He plans on extending the business by the end of the year: traveling state to state spreading knowledge to underprivileged children.
Zachary plans on partnering with major banks, such as Wells Fargo, to eventually get those banks to partner with high schools.
"There are people out there that want to do stuff like this, they just need a chance."
He's always been great in school, which lead to people thinking he was a nerd; now everyone's wishing they could be just like him. Zachary used to feel bad about the person he was, but he knew he had to stick to who he really was. Once he started showing people he wasn't going to change himself, everyone around him started to love and appreciate him more.
Zachary also wants to start a chain of after school programs, like the Boys & Girls Club, around Milwaukee. He wants at least ten different locations, ranging from K-12.
"I think that's what's Milwaukee needs," he said. "(They) gotta get their kids back active...(we need to) invest in our youth."
"Reality is real," said Zachary. "Don't let the things you don't like interfere with what you do like."
Zachary didn't get the success and wisdom he has on his own. He gives all the credit to his mother, Linda Pegues, who passed in 2011.
"She always motivated me when no one else did," he said. "She was my main supporter."
He has a scholarship in her name for MPS high school students. It's a standard essay and application, in which he picks two students: one boy and one girl. He flies home to give them personally each $1,000.
At 22, Zachary is making moves a 30-year-old individual could only dream of.
"People need me as a leader."