Against All Odds, She’s Off to Wellesley!
Walking down the hall in a bright blue Wellesley sweatshirt (given to her by her high school principal), Catherine stopped by to talk about HOLA and what’s next. In her own words:
My mentor from HOLA’s mentorship program once told me that behind every person, there is a network of loving and caring people willing to do anything to help you. I always knew that I wanted to go to college and I did what I could, participating in extra curricular activities and in the classroom. But I knew I was missing something and that I couldn’t get there on my own.
I had been part of the SmartStart Program at HOLA when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade, but I moved away and did not come back until the first day of summer before my junior year. I really missed being at HOLA. I didn’t have access to tutors and it was really boring just hanging out. As I was finishing 10th grade I knew that I was going to need help with the SATs and the ACTs, so I decided to stop by HOLA. Everyone was so friendly and willing to help me. I went in on a Friday, filled out my application and was back again on Monday, this time to stay.
At HOLA I was able to learn more about photography, swimming, ceramics, screen-printing, even SURFING! But the help did not end there; I was able to raise my SAT score about 200 points, receive Fly-Ins to private schools I am interested in, and most importantly meet my mentor Anne, who has helped me through my college process. With the support and encouragement of Anne and HOLA, in December I was named a Quest Scholar and through the Questbridge National College Match, I was accepted to Wellesley college with a full four-year scholarship! I am one of 381 Quest Scholars chosen from a pool of nearly 8,000 applicants. Without HOLA’s college access program, I would never have even heard of QuestBridge.
I recently moved from living 5 minutes away from HOLA to Long Beach, where it takes me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there, but I LOVE HOLA and cannot see myself without the HOLA family. HOLA became my second home because without HOLA, I would not have had the adventure that I experienced, I would not have all the resources necessary to apply to a private college, I would not have had the opportunity to learn new fun things, but most importantly, without HOLA I would not have been able to create my network of supporters that my mentor spoke so wonderfully about to me. What can I say? I LOVE HOLA!