This program includes six CPS high schools and is presented on behalf of Ford, ASPIRA Illinois, and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute. It targets schools with a significant Latino population, providing financial support, college readiness tools and motivational experiences meant to boost college enrollment.
“This is an exciting day for CPS,” said Chicago Board of Education Vice-President Jesse Ruiz, who spoke at the launch event on behalf of the District. “Ford’s generosity, in partnership with our friends at ASPIRA Illinois and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, will open a world of possibilities for Latino students in Chicago.”
Curie seniors packed the school auditorium on Tuesday for the kickoff event – a massive pep rally featuring performances by their own marching band and dance team, as well as a motivational talk from Mr. Roy Juarez, Jr., a Texas native who spoke about having successfully graduated from high school and college despite a youth marred by trauma and homelessness. Scheduled at each participating high school, these high-energy rallies are meant to inspire perseverance and resiliency, while the program’s scholarships and grants will support students financially on their journey through college.
At today’s event, Curie seniors learned that they could be eligible for as much as $5,000 in scholarship funds to help support their college education. They were also encouraged to enter the “What Drives Your Dream?” competition – an essay contest where students win prizes for describing how the dreams they want to pursue will benefit not only their lives, but the lives of those in their community.
“All of our English 4 teachers will be working with students on these essays,” said Curie principal Phillip Perry. “We’re thrilled to be involved with this entire partnership, because it stirs up excitement about college and drives home the point that we should be graduating all of our student’s college ready.”
Curie, along with Clemente, George Washington, and three high schools from the ASPIRA Charter Schools Network, will receive a $5,000 grant from Ford Motor Company Fund to expand programs in leadership development, career preparedness and college readiness.
“We are excited to be a part of a program that addresses both student motivation and academic preparation,” said Clemente principal Marcey Sorensen. “Support like this helps ensure that we are caring for the whole student as they travel down the path to college.”
Prior to today’s kickoff, the Driving Dreams Tour had impacted 25,000 students since 2012. The 2014-2015 Tour will include 7 high schools in Chicago and another 8 in North Texas.
“Whatever you want to achieve in life, an education is how you get there,” said Jesse Ruiz. “I thank the Ford Motor Company Fund for their dedication to the children of Chicago, and for helping make the dream of a high school diploma and college education a reality.”
Watch a video on the Driving Dreams Tour event here.