Cheri grew up in a low-income neighborhood in the inner-city of Indianapolis, but she never let circumstances stand in her way. Going to college was always her dream which is why she chose Christel House Academy South. Her teachers described her as “hard working…putting in 100% effort every day.”
In 2014, Cheri graduated from Christel House Academy South as the valedictorian of her class. After graduation, she enrolled with distinction at the University of Indianapolis to pursue a degree in criminal justice. She was quickly inducted into the Honor’s College at UIndy.
When asked how her time at Christel House prepared her for college, she said, "I learned to be a leader at Christel House. We didn't just get told what to do, we were expected to figure things out and create the experiences we wanted.”
Christel House’s support of Cheri continues through the College and Career Program and her path looks bright. “I am looking forward to watching her footprints on the future,” her former teacher shares.
Your support of ‘Help Inner City Youth Visit and Apply for College’ is helping students like Cheri overcome obstacles and continue their education. Thank you for helping our students pursue their dreams.
The Christel House Work/Study Program helps build on high school success as students enter adult life, giving grads support and guidance as they navigate the challenges of their education, careers—and dreams. Here’s one student’s story . . .
Chantelle is a lot like other ambitious college students. The 2014 Christel House Academy graduate and Work/Study student is a social work major who truly wants to help people. She made the dean’s list last semester. And next year she hopes to be a resident assistant.
Chantelle loves college life. She embraces the hard work. She’s used to it. What’s new are the comforts—a place to study, a bed of her own, somewhere to call home.
Not so long ago, things were much different.
While she was in high school, Chantelle’s family was evicted from their apartment, and Chantelle became homeless. “Things were hard,” she says. “I slept on couches.”
During high school Chantelle worked 30 hours a week at the local Dairy Queen to support herself. She had to find a place to live and pay her own rent. “I was responsible for all my needs—food, clothing, school supplies and phone bills.”
Chantelle worked so much, her grades began to slip. Then her grandmother died, and Chantelle hit rock bottom. “I was on the verge of dropping out,” she admits. That’s when Chantelle’s Christel House Academy counselor stepped in. “She was my backbone,” Chantelle says. “She pushed me to do better.” The Work/Study Program inspired Chantelle to envision a future that included college—studying social work—and helping others. Chantelle cut back on work hours and amped up study time.
With continued guidance and support through the Work/Study Program, Chantelle earned scholarships and financial aid sufficient to cover costs for her entire freshman year. On move-in day at Indiana State University, Chantelle’s Christel House Academy counselor drove her to school and helped her settle in.
This semester, Chantelle is enrolled in 18 hours of university courses—a full load—but she still makes time to give back, a value instilled in her at Christel House. Over the holidays, she collected 190 pairs of jeans for homeless teens.
Chantelle is ambitious about her future. She’d like to be a high school counselor, like the Christel House Academy counselors who inspired her. “I want to help out where it starts: in school,” she asserts. Eventually she’d like to earn her master’s degree. “First, I need to get my career going so I can be stable.”
The Christel House Work/Study Program helps ensure Chantelle’s stability now, as she’s pursuing her goals. “They go the extra mile,” she says. “Other schools just get you through high school. Then a lot of people fall off and give up. At Christel House, they genuinely care about their students and graduates. I don’t think any other schools have that level of support.”
Through your support of “Help Inner City Youth Visit and Apply for College,” you are helping Christel House studentsprepare for life after graduation. You help students succeed.Learn more about the Christel House Work/Study Program and Chantelle’s story at www.christelhouse.org/Chantelle
On September 16th, the Christel House Academy South 11th and 12th grade classes headed to the Indiana Convention Center for the Indianapolis National College Fair. Students were able to walk around the exhibit halls, visiting booths with information about the entire “college experience.” More than 200 admissions representatives from schools across the nation were available to answer questions. Students gathered bags full of pamphlets and materials about colleges and universities on their interest list. They also had the opportunity to attend sessions on financial aid, college athletics and the application process. Students went home equipped with knowledge to help make an informed decision about their post-graduation plans. Your support is giving our students opportunities, like this trip, to take one more step toward planning their future and achieving their goals. Information is power. Thank you for helping to empower our students.
Your support has helped our students pursue their dreams. Students from the inner city often lack the resources needed to bridge the gap between graduating high school and attending a college or university. Resources are needed to transport students to school visits, pay for college applications fees and assist with scholarships, grants and financial aid. Your dollars continue to help our kids overcome these obstacles. We want to introduce you to just a few of our recent graduates who are now into their first year of college – and share a few words from their former Christel House teachers. 2014 Graduates: Alexis is studying communications at the University of Indianapolis. “Alexis takes action to make ideas come true and is a true leader.” Chantelle is studying psychology at Indiana State University. “Chantelle has so much to offer this world by sharing her life experiences and reaching out and serving people that need her.”
Alyssa is studying nursing at Marian University. “She bloomed in her confidence and ability to want more of herself and others.”
Lexes is studying business at the University of Indianapolis. “She is mature beyond her years… She is such a bright girl, and I know her future will be bright.” Quentin is studying electrical engineering at IUPUI. “Quentin carries a very humorous personality… his light-hearted personality is a pleasure to have in class.”
Yeimi is pursuing an accounting certificate from Ivy Tech. “You have touched my heart! ...even though I was supposed to be teaching her about life she actually taught me a few things.”
On June 7th, we celebrated our first graduating class at Christel House Academy – Watanabe High School. More than 40% of these graduates received an “Honors Diploma,” compared to only 16% of students from similar socio-economic conditions throughout Indiana. We are also proud to share with you that over 90% of our seniors at Christel House Academy – Watanabe High School hold a college admission letter to:
Anderson University | The Art Institute of Indianapolis | Franklin College | Indiana State University | Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis | Indiana Wesleyan University | Ivy Tech Community College | Marian University | University of Indianapolis | Vincennes University
Many of our graduates were the first in their family to graduate from high school and most will be the first to attend college. We are so excited for our students to have achieved such success. They worked hard to overcome many obstacles. These young adults demonstrate the life–changing impact of the Christel House program. In spite of the difficult environments from which they come, they are well on their way to becoming productive, contributing members of society. We are grateful to Christel House donors for their support and belief in our mission. You have helped put our students on a trajectory to achieve success.
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