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Three CSSM students receive QuestBridge Scholarships; will attend Princeton, UPenn and UChicago (Video)





 For Cleveland School of Science and Medicine seniors Chardon, Alexia, and Iz'iah their hard academic work is paying off spectacularly.  All three scholars are going to a prestige college of their choice on full scholarships. 

These students, who are also best friends, are not just your average overachieving bookworms. They have all participated in numerous extracurricular activities that have shaped them to become activists and prepare them for college. 

They each learned about QuestBridge, a Palo Alto, California-based non-profit that connects exceptional, low-income students with leading colleges and universities while they attended Thrive Scholars and Minds Matter Cleveland. Both academic enrichment organizations prepare students for post-secondary education and connect them with colleges willing to offer scholarships. 

CSSM Scholar

Iz'iah, who plans to attend the University of Chicago and major in business, says having the financial burden removed is “a dream come true.” The annual cost of attending UC is just under $80,000 after tuition cost is combined with room and board fees.  

The process to qualify for a QuestBridge’s National College match is time-consuming.  It requires writing a number of essays and filling out detailed financial aid forms, said Chardon, who plans to major in political science with a minor in Africana studies at Princeton. 

“I had to write at least five essays for every college with word count minimums ranging from 300 to 500 words,” said Chardon, who is the CSSM class president.   

CSSM Scholar Chardon, a senior at CSSM, plans to attend Princeton in the fall. 


For his biographical essay, Chardon chose to write about a loaf of bread and how many meals you can make from a single loaf. 

“You can make grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly or just peanut butter or just jelly, plus you can break it up and add it to your food,” Chardon chuckled. “I really used it to show off my adaptability and how I can succeed in a lot of different situations, even with the smallest number of resources possible.” 

Chardon said he plans to leverage this exciting academic opportunity to give back to his community. 

“Princeton’s motto is in service of humanity, and I have a passion of advocacy,” said Chardon. “All my life I wanted to do something bigger than me that has a lasting impact. 

CSSM Scholar

Alexia, a senior at CSSM, plans to attend UPenn in the fall. 

In her application process, Alexia said she shared how her Latino heritage plays a huge part in her life. She was bullied at times for not speaking English as a first language, but she overcame that obstacle by starting a non-profit. 

“I created this program called Latino Leaders Cleveland, where it aims to empower Latinos who don't have many resources and want to pursue careers in public advocacy or law,” said Alexia, whose parents are from Guatemala and moved to the states 19 years ago. 

She wants to go to UPenn because it has a similar program, and the two organizations can work together. She plans to major in political science with a minor in Latino studies. 

CSSM Scholar

Iz'iah, a senior at CSSM, plans to attend UChicago n the fall. 

Iz'iah says he has always worked hard because he is eager to learn and be successful. 

“My mother always told me, ‘In order to get what you want, you got to do what you get.’ It means always work hard for what you want,” said Iz'iah who studies five languages. 

All three students agreed their friendship got them through the arduous application process as they relied on each other for advice. “There are so many times I went to Chardon or Alexia for advice,” said Iz'iah. 

“When things got tough, or I wanted to stop, they would tell me to keep going,” said Chardon. 

Each scholar is happy that they continued to chase their dreams. They are now making plans to visit each other while in college.