When her mother was dying, a young Woodbury girl made a promise to her. Chelsea Jerome promised she would go to college and she would find a way to pay for it. The Hazen Union student is now making good on that promise thanks to a valuable scholarship.
"This is a fairy tale option and I think her hard work is paying off," Hazen Union Principal Cindy Donlon said.
Chelsea Jerome is living an academic fairy tale. The Woodbury teenager has received a major scholarship from the Leonore Annenberg Fund.
"It is a scholarship that covers every expense: room and board, tuition and fees, books," Donlon said.
Chelsea's entire four-year college education will be free. It could be a $250,000 prize.
"She is bright, she is highly motivated, self-directed, incredibly resilient, went through some very difficult things," Donlon said.
"My mom passed away a couple of years ago. I had to move out of town to live with my aunt and uncle," Chelsea said. "So I have gone through a lot and I think I have overcome it. So far, it has worked to my advantage. I have had some things to work through. People are seeing that and recognizing that. I am very humble for that."
Chelsea credits her teachers for her success. Her teachers credit Chelsea for her worth ethic.
"She is a bright, insightful kid. But on top of that, she has got a discipline and fire really about pursuing her goals that is most unusual. She basically made her mom a promise years ago and hasn't let up a single day," teacher Matt Dickstein said.
That daily routine includes writing; writing about real life.
"I shared an experience about my grandma who used to have Alzheimer's and I kind of wrote a story about her life and spending a day with her and the things she went through. It is easy to write about things you have gone through," Chelsea said.
Chelsea's next challenge is choosing a college. This scholarship is given during the junior year, so Chelsea can choose her college without worrying about the cost.
"Next year I am going to be looking at a bunch of colleges to see what is out there. I have a wide open door for education, so I am excited to see what there is out there for me," she said.
A can-do attitude from a kid who will be heading to college free of charge.
This is the second time a Hazen student has received an Annenberg Scholarship. Lydia Ducharme is currently at Boston College getting her college education.
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