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A Better Chicago Grantee Story: Chicago Scholars

Written by Demetrius Amparan on Nov 11, 2016

Standing in a lower-level corridor of Navy Pier stood a pristinely dressed young man, pacing from side to side as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. I was running late for one of the best youth events that Chicago has to offer. His nervousness made me stop and ask if he was OK. He said,

“Yeah, I have an interview pretty soon for college. I’m not nervous, It’s better to have a little pressure than be completely out of sight, and out of mind.”

Onsite is Chicago Scholars marquee college fair. Every Fall, 176 selective to highly selective colleges and universities from across the nation interview one-on-one with highly driven, under-resourced, Chicago scholars. The young man who I ran into at the corridor just so happened to be interviewing with MIT in less than fifteen minutes.

Throughout the day, I had the privilege of witnessing hundreds of young people realize their potential, and be accepted into their dream colleges right on the spot. This is what makes the experience of Onsite so special. These young people are the first students in the nation to be accepted into these prestigious institutions.

Being accepted into college is a gift that they do not take for granted. These scholars deeply understand the opportunity that they have. Many of them are the first in their families to go to college. Others understand that their hard-work was only a part of the journey, and that Chicago Scholars offered them a chance to showcase how extraordinary they really are.

A Better Chicago is proud to be a supporter of Chicago Scholars. Checkout some of the students and parents that made Onsite a resounding success.

Emmanuel Williamson, 18, Williams College Prep

Colleges interviewed with – Mizzou University, University of Iowa

“I am at a complete loss for words. I came from nothing. This fair made me realize that I am someone. For all the shorties out there, always stay focused and surround yourself with people on your level.”

Charles Ridgner, parent of Sofia Ridgner, Brooks College Prep

Colleges interviewed with: Stanford University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan

“This fair gives young people hope. Especially young people from places where it might seem like hope doesn’t exist. My daughter Sofia is interviewing at one of the top Ivy league schools in the nation. I think she’s talented enough to succeed there. Would they have seen her without this fair? I’m not entirely sure.”

Trevaleyus Harris, Ariell Alejandra, Yesenia Puebla, Prosser Career Academy

Colleges interviewed with: Albion, Michigan State University, Nebraska, NIU, EIU

“We’re all first-generation college students, or will be soon. If I can tell a young person where I’m from what to do, I’d say persevere, follow your dreams, and don’t ever let someone tell you that you have a limit. We are limitless. This fair lets me know that I’m limitless.” – Trevaleyus Harris (Just received a near full-ride to Albion) 

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