Stephen Thomas, a 17-year-old Black student from Chicago, Illinois, has been accepted by over 30 colleges and universities, along with scholarship offers worth more than $1 million. Thomas is set to graduate from Bogan Computer Technical High School in Chicago with a 4.47 GPA.
Thomas’s success is the result of his hard work in school and participation in various extracurricular activities. Despite being raised by a single mother, Ericka, along with six siblings, Thomas had the guidance of his mother, who is also an educator. She has been a mentor to him since he was young, and her belief in him has helped him to overcome the challenges of growing up without a father.
Ericka has always encouraged her son to pursue his dreams, no matter what obstacles he may face. “No matter what life presents you just go for it, you write your own story. We know there are narratives out here about our black boys but it is our responsibility to change that narrative,” she told NBC News Chicago.
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Thomas’s hard work has paid off, as he has received acceptance letters from over 30 colleges, including Loyola, DePaul, Northern Illinois, and North Central. He hopes that his achievements will inspire other young people, especially those from underrepresented communities, to believe in themselves and their abilities.
“I want people to look at me and think, ‘Wow, he’s really out there doing something we truly believed we couldn’t accomplish just because of the way he looked,'” Thomas said. “It’s not insurmountable. Once more, I’m just a kid from Chicago who put in the effort and the time. And [maybe] someone else sees this and thinks, ‘Wow, I can do that too.'”
Thomas’s story is a testament to the power of hard work and perseverance, as well as the importance of having mentors who believe in you. As he prepares to embark on the next chapter of his life, he is determined to continue making a positive impact on the world and inspiring others to achieve their dreams.