Hours ago, 18 high school students in Chicago were honored for their academic excellence. All were high school seniors, most were accepted to great schools, and some had quite lofty professional ambitions; probably loftier than ours when we were that age. Likewise, most of them had pretty great backgrounds, not just academically but also community service and extracurricular activities. It was an honor to see them get the good news yesterday and to serve a profession resource for them after school as a member of the Hispanic Heritage Fondation advisor network.
Just hours ago, my colleagues at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and LOFT Institute awarded 18 students scholarships after a tough application process. They Applied with nearly 10,000 other applications, and yesterday we celebrated their achievements. There’s still a long road ahead and a lot of hard work to be done, but for just one day they were able to celebrate.
One question come to mind during the event: Will they remember the event weeks from now? And will they remember me one year from now? After all I did give them a business card and congratulate them all individually as the advisor at the event. I even met many of their parents.
My guess is that many of them won’t. After all, I didn’t remember everyone when I was their age. In fact, I didn’t even realize that it was important to remember anyone.
I propose the idea, that more important then getting remembered, is that we are all there to support them along the way. To clap when they do well. help them make informed decisions about school and their careers. And most importantly, to pick them up when they fall. That’s why I was happy when I found connections with many of them – I saw one Cristo Rey student (I sit on the board of Cristo Rey), one student going to Stanford (I am an alum), one student that wants to go to law school (I am in law school), and another who LOVES storytelling (I am building a storytelling website). Finding connections, so that if one of them has a question, they are more likely to call and ask for help.
Thank you sponsors for making this happen. Thank you HHF for putting on a great event. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, thank you to those that sat in the audience a decade ago when I was got my award …. even if I didn’t call you back. Without you, last night would not have been possibl.