The Schuler Program equips bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Writing from thirteen schools located in the greater Chicago area in Lake and Cook Counties of Illinois, scholars reflect on their academic experiences, cultural exposures, college applications processes, and more.
The First Year at North Chicago: Anthony's Experience
by Anthony Rodriguez, North Chicago Community High School, Class of 2016
Anthony (right) with NCCHS Scholars at a production of Les Misérables.
can remember the day I was chosen for the first class of North Chicago
Community High School Schuler Scholars. I did not know how this program would
play out, considering I was a part of the first and only class North Chicago
ever received. It was especially important to me because of North Chicago’s
reputation for kids going nowhere. It was a big deal to set the proper examples
for those who would follow. I wanted to be the best possible and to show that
great things could come from North Chicago.
I was first inducted into the Schuler Scholar Program, I was sent off to camp. The
absence of technology and being in nature were a completely different flow than
what I was used to. I had never been away from my home for so long and I began
feeling homesick. Although I was scared, the camp activities and trail helped
me take my mind off of things. During trail we canoed while exploring the
wilderness. My stay at Camp Manito-Wish YMCA taught me a lot about leading, and
most importantly how to cooperate with others. Trail made us all work together
in order to get things done. By the last day everyone was in sync with one
another; we were working well together in a way I had never seen before.
that first summer came more challenges. The Geometry class pushed me to my
breaking point. It was a series of formulas, numbers, and graphs to the
extreme. At first it was absurdly hard, but I began adjusting to the pace just
like I did in camp. All I needed was more explanation and effort, then I was
home free (literally).
addition to those two summers, there were plenty of work and activities to do. Between
Schuler and the advanced classes, there was a mountain of work to be done. At
one time, I had two essays to write and three separate homework assignments to
complete. Everything became overwhelming; it was a monstrous amount of work
along with everything I had to do with Schuler. Although I struggled a lot, I
received much needed support from my Scholar Coaches. We worked one by one on
my assignments and how to balance work on my own as well. I felt like I had
been thrust from middle school to college, but I overcame it like any other
challenge I encountered.
year was not all work, not at all. Schuler took me on many great exposures.
From a poetry slam to the science museum of Chicago, they were all very
enjoyable. At one point, we even had a person come in and teach us art. I am
glad the exposures were there. The trips and experiences provided me with a
sense of getting away from all the work.
my experiences as an individual and with Schuler, I’ve grown to appreciate
knowledge in general. I am always learning, whether I learn something about teamwork
or about a time period. I am thankful for this opportunity because it is
helping me achieve my goals. I hope to be a biomedical engineer to help people.
I want to go to the best possible school and to live my life happily with
family. I began my journey in North Chicago with the Schuler program, and I am
headed in the direction of my dream.