Read OneGoal Alumna Huda Ganatra’s stirring speech from the 2022 Grad Night celebration event.
Eric Solorio Academy High School in Chicago partners with OneGoal to bring our curriculum, training, and resources to students pursuing postsecondary pathways. 25 of the 26 OneGoal Year Two class of 2022 seniors enrolled in their chosen postsecondary path.
OneGoal Program Director Laura Dignani is proud of her OneGoal Year Two class of 2022 seniors, “25 of the 26 kids from this cohort got accepted and enrolled in a postsecondary pathway,” she says, adding that “the 26th student was accepted into the Year Up job training program, so we’re safe calling this a 100% success!”
With its colorful murals, floor-to-ceiling windows, and emphasis on academic achievement and college readiness, Eric Solorio Academy High School places among the top 20 high schools in Chicago Public Schools. “Since opening in 2010, our students, staff, and families have demonstrated that goals can be reached when one is consistent, collaborative, caring, and focused,” says Solorio Principal Victor Iturralde.
Since partnering with OneGoal in 2015, Solorio has seen its share of OneGoal Fellows utilize the knowledge and resources they have gained to go on to successful postsecondary careers. We are spotlighting a few Fellows from the class of 2022 just as they embark on their journeys through higher education. They have the tools they need to be successful and will continue to count on Ms. Dignani through their critical first year as questions and challenges emerge.
We chatted with seniors Jeremy, Nathalia, David, Itzel, and Nathaly about their favorite OneGoal memories, what they learned, what they’re most excited about in the future, and advice they have for Fellows who follow in their footsteps.
“A distinct memory from my OneGoal class and cohort that has stuck with me is having the opportunity to be a leader in my classroom. During our junior year in virtual learning, many of my classmates were feeling unmotivated and shared that their mental health was in bad shape and they were tired. I felt moved at that moment and ended up sharing this motivational speech with them all during one of our classes and basically said, ‘sometimes in life, our minds fill up with negative thoughts, depriving us of being able to take action. But if we don’t persevere, we risk becoming complacent.’ It felt great to motivate my classmates at that moment, and afterward, my teachers thanked me. They said having students motivate each other can sometimes hold more weight than when it comes from teachers.
“This year, I was very honored to win the OneGoal Summer Hub Scholarship. I remember when I decided to apply, I had already sent about 60 scholarship applications out. But I told myself, ‘you already beat yourself if you don’t at least try.’ So, I created my OneGoal SummerHub video, and to my surprise, I got an email that I was a winner a month later. I was excited and grateful that my hard work got rewarded.
“OneGoal has impacted the way I think about my future by expanding my perspective about possible career paths. I want to become an Endocrinologist and have a positive impact on society through medicine.
“OneGoal will benefit your future; take control of it. Even if your plans do not align with college or trade school, OneGoal will assist you. They will change the way you think about certain things. I can only tell you my experience; I can not promise you anything. But, my experience was great because I took control of it. Additionally, being a part of something bigger than myself while seeing the personal accomplishments of the other Fellows in my cohort is incredible. Throughout my life, no matter the encounter with others, positive or negative, they all assisted me in growing into a better and more understanding individual.”
“Something from my One Goal class that has stuck with me is the talks and discussions we have among one another. OneGoal has helped me become more comfortable and using my voice in classes. I also feel like I’m entering college with a lot of support.”
“Joining OneGoal is a great opportunity and leads you to success in the future. Earning my degree is important. I’ll be able to get a higher-paying job, and I can’t wait to make my family proud as a first-generation student.
“My dream is to become a nurse and eventually join a traveling agency to do nursing all over. I can’t wait to see where my career goes from there!”
“I got accepted into Columbia College in Chicago. I am pursuing a degree in filmmaking and directing to hopefully someday be a pretty well-known filmmaker and director. My favorite director is Damien Chazelle, who directed La La Land and Whiplash. His style of directing is probably my favorite because he’s very good at making his audience notice small details that other directors wouldn’t be able to do in a regular feature film. He is one of my biggest inspirations for wanting to become a filmmaker.
“These past two years with OneGoal have helped me quite a lot. Before OneGoal, I had no idea about the entire process of applying to colleges and searching for the best options. So being part of OneGoal has made me realize which school is best for me and made the whole process a lot easier for me.
“But if you’re looking for a life after high school, I feel like there’s always a path for everyone. It could be college, it could be trade school. Everyone has their own path, and I think it’s important for everybody to find their own path. And I feel like OneGoal is very helpful in helping you find that.”
Nathaly Figueroa + Itzel Lopez
Nathaly Figueroa “OneGoal made me realize that money should not be the main factor in my decisions about college. I felt so relieved when they explained the whole financial process because I expected to pay the sticker price for many years. Because of OneGoal, I know that there are other avenues to pay for college. I plan to graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an elementary education degree.”
Itzel Lopez “The Fellows in my OneGoal cohort have been very supportive and so kind with every decision I have made. That support system really helped keep me going by becoming more open-minded and vulnerable. I also feel like I know what to expect in the future. My advice to other students is if you need help please ask for it. I feel like people don’t realize how helpful OneGoal is and how supportive everyone is. There aren’t very many members of my family that were able to finish school, so earning my degree will be a big accomplishment, and not just for me, but for my entire family.”
In 2010, Caleb Navarro started his first year of high school lacking interest in classes with no plan for the future.