SHARECOMMENTMORE

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Posted on Vivian Bradford's wall are the pictures of her students.

Bradford, who's a guidance counselor at Ribault High School, has helped many students get into college.

"I love my students and I love seeing them become successful," she said.

An educator since 1989 and a guidance counselor for the last 15 years, Bradford has been working on the front lines trying to encourage her students to go to college.

"I want students to see what they can be. Not where you are now but what you can be," she said. "I want them to see what's beyond 32208 and 32209."

To help motivate them, she started the luggage project. All the student has to do is apply for college and get accepted and in exchange for the college acceptance letter the senior receives a duffel bag.

"This is the duffle," she said. "They're going to have their choice of three colors. It's a rolling duffle. They're going to have the choice of three colors red, green or black."

Born and raised off 45th Street, Bradford said she was so moved to make this small investment in her college-bound seniors lives because she understands the economic challenges they face.

"I've seen several of our students carrying their clothes to school in boxes and garbage bags and i don't won't this to be the experience for our students," she said.

Senior Steve Jackson, who's been accepted to the University of Florida and will be the first in his family to go to college, is grateful.

"Mrs. Bradford has helped me through everything," he said. "When ever I needed help with college, scholarships, writing those college essays, I always had Mrs. Bradford to go to and i really appreciate her for that.

Vivian Bradford is our "Hero Next Door."

"It's not about me being a hero. The hero is the community and the people helping us in this effort.

Mrs. Bradford said the luggage project started in October of last year and since then, they've purchased a 100 pieces of luggage that will be given to the seniors in may on senior awards night.