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Inside CPS

News and Stories from across the District

Succeeding Both on the Soccer Field and in the Classroom

14 March 2024

By Neftali O., Senior at Alcott College Prep High School

Alcott Student

One of my favorite activities when I’m not in school is playing soccer. I’ve always been told that the way I think about the game is one of my greatest strengths. In soccer, you always have many options at any given moment. When I have the ball, my teammates know that I am always going to make the best choice for my team and am not going to do anything that would cost them the game. 

I have a similar style in the classroom, especially when it comes to math. I’ve been good at math since I was in third or fourth grade, and thankfully that has continued into high school. I’ve always processed math problems quickly. If someone gives me a problem and an example, I’ll likely be able to do other problems myself. 

I’ve been at Alcott for all four years of high school, and my senior year has definitely been my favorite. I have a lot more freedom this year, and I feel like I’ve been able to talk with my teachers more and even joke around with them a little bit like I do with my friends. 

I’m also in a class called Senior Leaders, where I get to help the school plan different events. I enjoy that class a lot. Other than that, my senior year has included a lot of spending time with my family and hanging out with my friends. All the laughs we shared both inside and outside of the classroom are moments that I will always remember. 

Another highlight of my senior year has been receiving the Posse Scholarship, which will allow me to attend Oberlin College in Ohio next year. I will also never forget my first day back at school after I heard the news. It was really cool to see the reactions of all my teachers. One of them even started tearing up and gave me a hug. 

The more people I told, the more it sunk in that this was a huge accomplishment. I started to feel extremely proud of myself. 

I’ve never lived outside of Chicago before, so I’m excited to be on my own. I have three older sisters, so I’m used to being surrounded by women—my Posse crew is all women and me, too—and am ready to spend some time away. I think college is a great opportunity to meet new people who come from different parts of the country and the world. It will allow me to build connections that I can keep with me for my career and the rest of my life. 

I’m planning to major in economics, which I think will be a good fit given my interest in math. However, I learned in high school not to have too fixed of a mindset on your future and your goals. It’s important to keep an open mind because your interests may change. 

I’m so thankful for everyone at Alcott who helped me to get to this point. They’ve provided me with so much confidence and reassurance. They’ve helped me see in myself what other people see in me.

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