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Guiding students to achieve their dreams

By first year coach Ilsa Lee

This year has been rewarding, challenging, and so impactful. I have worked in many roles with youth, and my AmeriCorps service year with College Possible has been empowering, important, and fulfilling for me. Serving with College Possible, and feeling prepared to begin my work with the students we serve has been such a pivotal part of my professional life.

Having the honor to earn a student’s trust, hear their stories, and guide them to their dreams is something I am so grateful for. One student comes to mind as I look back on my year. Before I even began service at the school, I was told she was a Posse Scholarship nominee. She was enrolled full-time in Postsecondary Education Options (PSEO), so she wasn’t physically in her school very much, but was always so kind and appreciative in messages we exchanged.

Over the next few months, she visited me frequently, building an impressive list of schools she was applying to, and working so hard through a tedious three months of scholarship interviews. She showed dedication, intelligence, and openness throughout the whole process. She was never discouraged, even with complicated tasks, like filling out a CSS Profile for schools she’s applying to. She was patient, and together we were able to overcome obstacles.

In the end, she found out she was not awarded the scholarship. I’ll never forget her message to me, “I am disappointed because I wanted to make my family proud, but I am proud of all the work I did and that I was a semi-finalist.” It broke my heart to hear she didn’t get it after months of working so hard on it. She thanked me for all of my support and I felt that even though she didn’t get the scholarship, she reached another goal. She took the experience for what it was, she found pride in the work she accomplished, and hopefully will brag about her semi-finalist title to the world.

Are you inspired by Ilsa’s story? Learn more about serving with College Possible. You could be a critical support system and coach to a student throughout their college journey.

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