Young, Gifted & Black Series
By Taki S. Raton
According to CBS general assignment reporter Derrick Blakley, our YG&B featured profile this week could very well be a scholarship record breaker with an accomplishment believed to be a Chicago Public School record for a single student.
She is young, gifted and Black. Arianna Alexander has been accepted into 26 colleges – to include six Ivy League universities – and has been awarded more than $3 million in scholarship money. This is a record on both accounts cites the Examiner. com on June13, 2015.
Her list of accomplishments include being valedictorian of her Kenwood Academy senior class in Chicago, earning a 5.1 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and a member of the Gates Scholars program which covers unmet needs for low-income minority students.
It was her father, Pierre Alexander, who planted the idea of attracting multiple scholarship opportunities by recalling the story of Derrius Quarles who, according to the Examiner, was awarded more than $1 million in scholarship offers and went on to attend Morehouse College.
Arianna said in the June 13 account that she was glad at first to receive half a million dollars in scholarships, but her father kept pushing her to get more.
Her total at first was $1 million, then 2 million, and finally it all added up to $3 million. And so far, as again positioned in the Examiner, that total is a record for scholarship monies received by anyone.
“I planted the seed in Arianna’s mind that you can do the same thing,” says Alexander. “So when the process got started and a million was achieved, let’s go for two. I said, let’ go for three and she did it,” he adds.
Arianna says in a June 10, 2015 CLTV post that after applying to over 20 schools, “I got accepted into 26 schools, including six of the eight Ivy’s and that has been a chunk of change right there.” She adds that her participation as a Gates Scholar was also a great financial assist.
The now Kenwood graduate has been working hard on her studies since 7th grade, never getting any grade below a B, and even then, this grade was earned in an AP honors class as revealed in CLTV.
With supportive parents, inspiring teachers and three older high achieving siblings, the bar was set high for Arianna.
Alexander says in DailyMail.com that Arianna’s scholarship earnings “was a big blessing because I’ve already put three through college.
Now I don’t have to worry too much about her.”
Says Arianna in her own words, “I feel like it means I can afford college and don’t have to worry about it.
I feel that’s an issue for a lot of people my age.”
As shared on June 14, 2015 by Gretel Kauffman in The Christian Science Monitor, many of our nation’s top colleges and universities are becoming very sensitive to this issue of college affordability.
Select campuses nationally are now offering free tuition to qualified students whose family income falls below a certain mark.
Earlier this year, notes Kauffman, Stanford University announced that families whose income and assets totaled under $125,000 would not have to pay tuition.
Other campuses such as Harvard and MIT have policies similar to Stanford.
But while financial aid packages are becoming what Kauffman terms, “increasingly generous,” the cost of college is soaring as well, particularly at elite universities.
Within the 2014-2015 academic year he reports, the average cost of an in-state public education was $9,139 and the average cost of a private school was $31,231. More than 50 highly-ranked schools such as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University can cost upwards of $60.000 a year, he reports.
But to its credit according to Yahoo News, Kenwood Academy on the city’s South Side is known for its success of getting their seniors into college and making sure that financial rewards are available. The 371 students in this year’s 2015 graduating class earned $39.6 million in scholarship money noting published accounts.
Kenwood’s principal, Dr. Gregory Jones, says that he motivates students to think early on that college is a goal.
“We ensure you that over four years, if the student has performed academically, that we’re going to position them well for the next step along their academic journey,” he says in CBS Chicago.
He adds in CLTV on achievement that, “It is part of the Kenwood fabric. Students know when they enter Kenwood in the fall as freshman that this is what the expectation is.”
Kenwood, cites Blakley, has had 18 prestigious Gates Scholarship winners over the last five years, noting that it is a neighborhood high school and not a selective enrollment like other Chicago secondary academies such as Walter Payton, Northside Prep, or Whitney Young.
As amazing as her scholarship earnings appear, Arianna still believes as posted in “The Inqusitr” that the real effort is to work hard, pray about it, and don’t give up no matter how hard raising the money for college tuition may seem.
Her goal is to become a restaurant entrepreneur with a vision of opening four restaurants that she plans to own.
Reports note that she is already working on designs for her menus.
Thanks to the advice from one of her teachers, Paul Brush as noted in ABC News, Arianna sorted through her options and made the decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania this fall so that she can enroll in Penn’s Wharton School of Business which will guide her towards fulfilling her dream.
And as cited in Examiner.com, no doubt she will continue to strive for success and succeed. “With a father like Pierre Alexander, how can she fail?”