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Grad just one part of $39M scholarship story at Chicago high school

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CHICAGO – As schools begin to wrap up for summer vacation, the graduating class at one Chicago high school has an exceedingly bright financial future ahead.

They're getting millions of dollars in college scholarships to continue their educations.

This year’s graduating class of 371 students boasts of $39.6 million in scholarship money, three of which are gates scholars.

Ariana Alexander is among them.

Not only is she valedictorian of Kenwood Academy, class of 2015, she’s also racked up over $3 million dollars in scholarship money alone.

“I applied to over 20 schools” she say. “I got accepted into 26 schools, including six of the eight Ivys and that was a chunk of change right there. And then I’m a Gates Scholars and that was big chunk there.”

So that means in the fall, Ariana has her choice of any college or university and she has chosen Penn.

“As I researched the school, I fell in love and been working hard to get there.”

She been working on it since the 7th grade, never getting any grade below a B and even then it was in an AP honors class.

With supportive parents, teachers and three older high achieving siblings, the bar was set high for Arianna who graduated just yesterday with a 5.1 GPA.

Kenwood’s principal Dr. Gregory Jones says he gets students to think early on college is the goal.

“It’s part of the Kenwood fabric,” he says. “Students know when they enter Kenwood in the fall as freshmen, this is what the expectation is.”

Last year, the school had five Gates Scholars and the year before three. In 2012 there were two and five in 2011. And Kenwood does it without being a selective enrollment school, which gets to pick the best of the best students.

Ariana wants to eventually own her own restaurant, four of them in fact. So that business degree she plans to get from Penn’s Wharton School of Business, will go a long way in fulfilling her dream.

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  • Debbie snyder

    I’m confused … she gets scholarship money from schools she is not attending? Or is the $3 million from the Gates Scholarship, Penn State and other I individual awards… In any event, congratulations on a great achievement!

    • Kelly Byrne

      she was awarded scholarships from all the schools, but that doesnt mean she gets the money, she only gets the actual scholarship from whatever school she attends, the rest just go back to the colleges she doesnt attend to be offered to someone else

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