Woodlawn Campus Graduate Shaiesha Moore Has All the Tools Necessary for Success
Posted 06/10/2011 05:00PM
Shaiesha Moore is a member of the second graduating class of the University of Chicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus. 57 students earned their high school diplomas on June 8, 2011 with 95 percent accepted to colleges and universities, including Carleton College, Tufts University and the University of Illinois. Scholarship awards totaled more than $735,000.
Shaiesha just completed her freshman year at Georgetown University. The story below tells her journey to get there.
As Shaiesha Moore ponders her future at Georgetown University, she is filled with trepidation. She wonders if she will be too homesick. She has never lived apart from her mother and sisters. She questions if she will be able to rise to the challenges of such a rigorous university. She earned a 4.0 GPA at the University of Chicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus (UCW), but college is different, right?
Shaiesha shares many of the same worries that every high school graduate faces when entering college. What she doesn’t yet realize is that she has all the tools necessary to stop worrying.
From Kindergarten until 9th grade, Shaiesha transferred from school to school from year to year as her family moved around Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. When she entered UCW her freshman year of high school, she decided to put down roots. This was a place where she wanted to grow academically and socially for the next four years because she believes “UCW is a place where education is engaging.” Her family supportive of the decision, Shaiesha, for the first 2 years of high school, got up at 4 a.m. to catch the Metra in order to get to UCW on time. And considering her exhaustive list of extracurriculars, she often didn’t walk through her door until 7:30 at night. That left dinner and homework before she could even think about sleep. Shaiesha was determined.
Though Shaiesha spent two years putting in 15 hours days (not counting homework), she’s convinced that she was not a true student until her junior year. She says, “I did enough to get that ‘B’, but I could have gotten ‘A’s with the right amount of effort.” She credits her grandmother for her wake up call. When Shaiesha’s grandmother became ill, she asked Shaiesha via a notepad about her dreams for the future. Shaiesha responded with a level of detail and passion that surprised even her. Grandma was incapable of speech, but tears welled in her eyes and she smiled with pride. When her Grandmother passed that evening, Shaiesha took it as a sign to work harder and go further. Shaiesha was inspired.
Shaiesha’s teachers at UCW recognized the change in her. “My teachers could tell that I was more serious than I had ever been. They rallied around me and did everything they could to help me excel. I was offered extra credit and tutoring in areas in which I struggled,” she says. “Every teacher I've had at UCW since I was a freshman has significantly impacted my life.” Shaiesha was supported.
To list all of Shaiesha’s accomplishments would be difficult. Her tenure at UCW has been extraordinary. She graduated on June 8 as class valedictorian, delivering a speech that moved her and the audience to tears (Read Shaiesha’s speech). She earned a 4.0 GPA in AP classes while juggling multiple extracurriculars including playing the lead in Romeo and Juliet at the Court Theater High School performance (where she won best actress the year prior) and serving as President of her senior class. During her four years, she participated in soccer, dance, track and the school newspaper, to name a few activities. She created her own community organization with friends called Value Sisterly Love (VSL), the purpose of which is to promote abstinence and provide community service throughout Woodlawn. Shaiesha is a mentee for the Companies That Care: AIM High program and is a stand out on the UCW Great Debaters team, something of which she is particularly proud. “I enjoy debating because it's not simply arguing back and forth. Instead it's making analytical arguments, based on claims that are being supported with accredited evidence. The skills I learned from debate, I intend to use in college.” Shaiesha has already been asked to join the Georgetown's Mock Trial and Philodemic Debate Society next year. Shaiesha is passionate.
One of only 1000 scholars in the country, Shaiesha recently discovered she has been awarded a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS). This scholarship will cover the cost of her post-secondary education, including a Master’s Degree and PhD should she choose to pursue them. The GMS supports a select number of exemplary minority students who may face financial barriers when striving to reach their highest potential. These students must demonstrate superior qualities in the areas of academics, leadership, character, community service, and extracurricular pursuits. When asked to describe in one word how she feels about receiving the award, she replies, “Liberated.” Not having to pay for her education, Shaiesha says, “A burden is lifted from my shoulders. I no longer question how I will be able to survive in college. It gives me a sense of freedom. By not taking out any loans I become free from debt. I become free from relying on others to finance me through college, and most importantly, I have freed my family from financial burden. The Gates Scholarship will be the key to unlock many more doors in my future.” Shaiesha is liberated.
Determined. Inspired. Supported. Passionate. Liberated. Shaiesha Moore is well equipped to realize every dream. She is her own key.
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