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Zackary Logan ’18

In his senior year in high school, Zackary Logan ’18 had few options. He was living in a youth shelter, trying to find a way forward with little guidance and few resources. College seemed impossible until a gift of $65 to pay his Montclair application fee changed everything.

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The odds were stacked against Zackary Logan ’18 right from the start.

“Very early, my siblings and I were scattered to different foster homes,” he says. “My life became a little more stable when I was adopted, but I had a lot of adjusting to do.”

Despite his unstable upbringing, Logan excelled in school, taking honors classes in middle school and by junior year of high school, he was on the advanced placement track and thinking about what to do next.

“I had no idea how to navigate the higher education process,” he says. “My adoptive parents had not gone to college and didn’t know how to help, and the cost of tuition was intimidating.”

As his classmates prepared for the next phase of their journey to adulthood, Logan’s path unraveled again. His adoptive parents divorced, and Logan returned to the custody of the state. He spent his senior year of high school as a resident of Anchor House, a youth crisis and homeless shelter facility.

Now, the idea of going to college seemed like an impossible dream. “I was always good with computers,” he says, “and I researched enough to know that I wanted to study information technology. I also learned that Montclair has a great IT program. I filled out the forms, but I had no way to pay for the application fee.”

“I met kind and generous people at Anchor House,” Logan continues. “One of the staff members there offered to pay the $65 I needed to apply to Montclair, and a couple weeks later, I received my acceptance letter.”

Logan had never been to the campus – or to any college campus – before his first semester at Montclair. In fact, he had never been to northern Jersey. “My case worker and foster mom helped me move in,” he recalls. “After they left, I sat in my dorm the whole day wondering what to do next. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I had faith that I would figure it out, one step at a time.”

Logan enjoyed campus life as much as he could, while powering through to complete his undergraduate work in three years. “I had to go hard because I knew I didn’t have the same luxury as others. If I failed, there was no second chance.” Remembering his days of winter break classes and summer courses, he shares, “I made very close friends during those sessions, when most students were gone for breaks and we were still working away.”

In 2016, Logan’s hard-won accomplishments were recognized with the Douglas McCune Memorial Award, presented annually by Anchor House to a teen who demonstrates humility, hard work, academic achievement, and a concern for others.

Logan went on to complete a master’s degree in cybersecurity at the University of Delaware, and now enjoys a highly successful IT career. “I am at a transition point in my life,” he notes. “IT got me to where I’m at, but now it’s all about giving back to those who need it the most.”

Logan remains grateful to those who helped him along his journey and wants to do the same for others. Last year, he biked 60 miles a day for a week in the Anchor House Ride for Runaways fundraiser. This year, he is preparing to launch the Logan Lewis Foundation to provide resources for at-risk foster youth. “School work is not the hard part for at-risk youth; the bigger challenge is navigating higher education without direction, and without an advocate,” he explains.

Montclair’s Red Hawk Fellows program, a support program for students who grew up in foster care, experienced homelessness or who lack adult guidance, is among the models for his new initiative. “I would not have graduated without the program,” he says.

Although distance keeps him from visiting campus often, Logan is still in touch with his Montclair friends. He also hopes to find opportunities to give back to his alma mater. “Montclair was a sanctuary for me,” he says. “Everything was where it needed to be. If it weren’t for the education and career experience I received at Montclair, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”