CHICAGO (CBS) — At a time when so many are struggling to pay for college, Kenwood Academy valedictorian Arianna Alexander is a scholarship record-breaker, reports CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.
“I was accepted into 20 schools and a lot of the scholarship money came from there, so right now, the total’s over three million dollars,” Alexander said.
That’s believed to be a CPS record for a single student. But at Kenwood Academy, she’s got plenty of company.
“Teachers and staff here are amazingly supportive of all their students,” said Kenwood senior Kaelean Vazquez.
And the numbers have skyrocketed. Three years ago, Kenwood seniors earned a total of $18-million in scholarships. This year, it was almost $40 million.
It’s the result of an intense, school wide focus on not only getting kids into college, but also finding the money to pay for it.
“We ensure you that over four years, if the student has performed academically, that we’re going position them well for the next step along the academic journey,” said Kenwood Principal Gregory Jones.
Arrianna’s next step: the prestigious Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“if one person can get over 3 million, that means, someone else can get the money they need,” she said.
Of course, it helps if you’ve been accepted to eight of ten Ivy League schools like Arriana. Her goal is to become a restaurant entrepreneur.
Kenwood also had 18 prestigious Gates Scholarship winners over the last five years and remember, they’re a neighborhood high school not selective enrollment like Walter Payton, Northside Prep, or Whitney Young.