We talked with Anabel, a junior at North Park University about her goals and experience as a OneGoal Fellow. Anabel reflected on how she didn’t think her Program Director knew just how much he impacted her. She wanted him, and future Program Directors, to know. Here are her words:
If you had asked me my freshman year where I would be after graduating high school, I’m not sure if my response would have been college. I have always been an ambitious and determined student, but I struggled with a lack of confidence and purpose. I settled for a C-average and didn’t push myself to the potential that I knew I had within. It was hard to imagine myself in college when I would have been the first generation to accomplish this milestone. In my sophomore year of high school, my history teacher introduced me to OneGoal and I immediately knew that this was the push I needed to really succeed. In joining OneGoal, I met Mr. Stricker, the person who has been one of the biggest influences in my life and the person who never gave up on me, even when I had given up on myself.
“I already broke through many barriers of education by being the first in my family to go to college.”
Mr. Stricker is a very tough, yet caring, individual who has always had the best interest for each and every one of his students. He made our OneGoal cohort feel like a family who could rely on each other if we were ever faced with a difficult situation. My OneGoal class was more than just an ordinary class; it was a class where students felt safe, where you could speak your mind and not be judged for it. It was a class that was filled with unconditional support and outstanding students.
When the time came to start applying to colleges, I no longer hesitated about whether it would be in my future. With Mr. Stricker’s help, I applied to more than 10 colleges and was accepted to almost all of them. Deciding where I could actually afford to attend was an extremely difficult time for me. After almost reaching a point where I wanted to drop everything and give up, Mr. Stricker encouraged me to keep persevering. It’s because of his constant support that I applied to—and received—a generous scholarship to cover my tuition at North Park University where I’m a student today.
“My OneGoal class was more than just an ordinary class; it was a class where students felt safe, where you could speak your mind and not be judged for it.”
I already broke through many barriers of education by being the first in my family to go to college. Now I’m on track to beating the statistics about the academic success of students from low-income communities. I don’t just have sights on college graduation; I want to aim higher and earn a master’s degree in physical therapy. I don’t only want myself to succeed either; I want more students from similar backgrounds or communities to gain their own success. Knowing the impact that Mr. Stricker’s mentorship had on me, I now serve as a mentor to freshmen at North Park University, including OneGoal Fellows. Just as Mr. Stricker is a role model for me, I hope to be a role model to all of these students. It just takes one person to make a positive change in someone’s life.
So, I want Mr. Stricker to know how grateful I am for everything that he has done for me throughout these last four years—especially in the transition from high school to college. Thank you, Mr. Stricker, for not giving up on me even when I had given up on myself. You have helped shape me into the strong woman that I am today. I appreciate how you sent all the Fellows care packages during finals week, and how you still call just to ask how everything is going. I couldn’t have asked for a better Program Director and I am forever thankful. I hope that I can continue to make you proud.