Community Care Scholars Celebrate a Successful Fall Semester
In January, our bright and talented Mercy Home Scholars enjoyed a delicious dinner to celebrate their end-of-semester accomplishments and to ring in the new year. Many were excited to catch up with old friends and make new connections with alumni and scholars in programs.
Mercy Home scholars are former residents who receive access to a good education through our Community Care program. Our scholars are provided with academic scholarships and continued guidance and connection to our coworkers to help them succeed.
To break the ice, everyone walked around the room with a bingo card that listed anonymous facts about the scholars. They chatted with one another to fill out their cards, get to know each other better, and make connections. Throughout the evening, laughs and smiles filled the room and friendships were created as they enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner together.
Marlin Exton, Mercy Home’s director of career resources and scholarships, talked about the significance of having this event for our scholars.
“It was a chance to celebrate the scholars,” Exton said. “They each worked a very tough semester … We wanted to show them that we see the challenges that they have met. We celebrate their continuing high school and college. Everyone is passing, and so close to graduation. It was a time to not only to show them we celebrate what they are doing, but it brought them together and connected them with staff that are working every day to make sure they have the support they need.”
After dinner, students reflected on their fall semester and what they hoped to accomplish for spring semester.
One of the attendees, Noelle, is currently a senior in high school, and an active leader in her school as the president of the student body. She feels it has equipped her to be a confident leader and role model for the younger grades.
“It was really cool [to become the president] because I’m new to that school, I started last year,” she said. “I’ve been taking more of a mentoring role, planning things. I feel really prepared to be more of a confident person going into college.”
Building relationships is important for Noelle. She hopes to be a positive influence on her classmates before she heads off for college in the fall at American University in Washington D.C., where she hopes to study international relations.
“I really want to get close with a lot of the younger grades,” she explained. “We the seniors have been trying to work on it—just being there more for them and leaving on a good note.”
Another attendee, Carlos, is an alum of Mercy Home and studies computer science at the University of Southern California. As a resident at Mercy Home, he ran the Chicago Bank of America Marathon in 2018 with our Mercy Home Heroes team.
Carlos enjoyed his most recent semester in sunny Southern California and expanded his knowledge by taking some captivating classes and being a teacher’s assistant.
“School has been good,” he said. “I had some pretty interesting classes this semester. I was balancing that and being a TA [teacher’s assistant]. I’m a TA for one of the intro classes, so that was pretty fun. I interned at Microsoft over the summer which was nice. It was a really chill semester; I really liked it.”
After spending long hours studying, doing homework, and being a TA, next semester Carlos wants to have more fun adventures in Los Angeles, while balancing his workload.
“[I want to] see more of L.A.,” he said. “Focusing on school is good, but I also want to equally focus on L.A. and exploring it.”
We are so proud of all our scholars for their accomplishments, especially over the last semester, and for challenging themselves to be astute scholars.