(Guest blog by Hannah Lemieux)
Kevin Noelsaint is a Match High School senior. I share this with his permission.
Kevin’s college essay began this way:
Out of nowhere, I was thrown from my bike into the air. My body and the world as I knew it were turned upside down. For fifteen seconds, the ground shook, but to me it felt like a century. Nothing can better describe what I felt than my senses: the sight of debris and rubble all around me, the sound of glass breaking, the feeling of my body shaking, and the smell of dust. Indelibly embedded not only in my memory, but also that of the Haitian community, the earthquake of 2010 acquired a name of its own: “Bagay La,” The Thing.
After the earthquake, Kevin’s parents made a tough choice. They’d send the 13-year-old to Boston to live with his Auntie.
His cousin Christian was already attending Match Middle School, so Kevin’s Auntie entered Kevin’s name into the 9th grade admission lottery. That year, over 500 applied for roughly 70 slots.
Kevin’s number was pulled. He enrolled in 2010 as a 9th grader.
Fast forward to December 2nd of this year. Kevin Skyped his parents. The connection was fuzzy. He told them he would be attending college next year. At Wesleyan. Full academic scholarship.
“Where’s Wesleyan?” they asked. “How do you spell it?” They wanted to Google.
Two hours later they Skyped back, giving their approval through a computer screen. “That’s a good school,” they said.
Kevin’s opportunity comes through QuestBridge. It is a fantastic non-profit that links high-achieving low-income students with educational and scholarship opportunities at leading U.S. colleges and universities. He learned of his good fortune in the high school computer lab, but stifled his excitement upon hearing a classmate had not “matched” through Questbridge.
Kevin left the lab, found two of his teachers, Eddie Jou and Alex Johnson, and thanked them. He did homework until nearly 7pm. Then he treated himself to a celebratory, solitary meal at KFC, and texted me, one of his former tutors.
“Now you see the fruits of your labor,” he wrote.
“YOUR labor,” I replied.
We're all proud.