“I cannot think of any other more deserving kid than Anthony,” said Nakia Blanton-Morgan, a school counselor at Lane Tech who has worked with Alvarez since his freshman year. “He’s resilient, he’s persistent, he’s sure of himself, he’s intrinsically motivated, and it all stems from a lot of the trials and tribulations that he’s had to face in his life. He just wants more for his community and his family than for himself. He wants to be an example. He is going to be a huge inspiration, not just for the Latino community but for all communities.”
Alvarez applied early decision as part of UChicago’s MOVE UP (Moving Online, Virtually Empowered, Unlimited Potential) initiative—designed to support local students and families through the virtual college engagement, application, admissions and financial aid process. The initiative is part of the University’s broader Stand Together initiative, which aims to increase educational access and career success for underrepresented students.
MOVE UP focuses its free college advising and preparation on high school students at Chicago Public Schools, nearly 90% of whom are students of color. Students can get help choosing colleges, writing application essays and filling out financial aid forms; additionally, they can connect with free academic support such as tutoring and mentoring. Students like Alvarez who apply early through the program receive their admissions’ decision within two weeks of submitting their application to UChicago.
“From having to navigate virtual schooling while maintaining straight As in four AP classes, to the time he’s dedicated toward preparing himself for a career in medicine, Anthony has proven time and again that he’s truly a standout,” said Brandon McCallister, senior assistant director of admissions at UChicago. “I think I speak for all of us when I say we need determined and passionate people like Anthony now more than ever in our doctor’s offices and hospitals. Everyone that we have interacted with at Lane Tech has told us nothing but amazing things about his drive, his caring personality and his ambition. He is going to make a huge difference in the world one day soon.”
As he got over the shock of Friday’s ceremony, Alvarez said he looks forward to being on campus, studying computer science and biology, and meeting new people at UChicago next fall. In the meantime, he and his family said they would be going out for a dinner to celebrate.
“This means a lot. Overcoming challenges and now seeing myself here, it’s just amazing,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to be able to study, get a good job, and have a good career, to be a pediatrician, and be able to give back to my family. This is the biggest opportunity my family has ever faced.”
—This story first appeared the Office of Civic Engagement website.