BRONZEVILLE — A Wendell Phillips Academy student athlete has won a $2,500 scholarship for his essay about how America has changed since the 1960s.
Malcolm Fox, 18, received the award Monday after winning this year's annual Black History Month Scholarship contest sponsored by the city Treasurer's Office. The contest is open to all Chicago Public Schools seniors.
In his winning essay, Fox wrote that although Americans seem to have regressed in terms of uniting as a country, African-Americans have progressed in their faith that things will get better.
Fox said he believes the most pressing issue today is the lack of education and opportunities for young people, and creating positive environments for the city’s children is extremely important.
Fox, who ranks third in his class, will head off to Wesleyan University in Connecticut in the fall. The linebacker on the Phillips football team and Pullman resident will be playing football for the Wesleyan Cardinals and majoring in economics with a minor in data analysis.
He said he chose Wesleyan because of its prestige.
“It was a chance I couldn’t pass up, and I can play football,” he said.
Juggling football and school has always come naturally for Fox, who said that his parents have instilled in him an appreciation for education.
“I've always been pushed in my house and been told academics come before athletics,” Fox said.
Although a chance at the NFL would be great, he said he’s more focused on finishing college and going to law school.
“If I do happen to go into the NFL, that career will end, so I need a plan 'B,’ so education is always the most important thing,” he said.
Fox said he'd like to attend Georgetown, Duke or Harvard for law school. Fox also said he would like to start his own business someday. Owning a professional sports team is also on his list of goals.
He encourages freshmen and sophomores in high school to work hard early so they can have more opportunities their senior year like he did.
“A lot of opportunities were made available to me based off of my grades and ACT scores,” he said, “so don’t slack, and make sure to put forth your best effort.”
He said he appreciates the City of Chicago scholarship, which will offset his college costs. He’s already been awarded $21,000 in other scholarships.
“I’m grateful and blessed,” Fox said. “I just want to thank Mr. [City Treasurer Kurt] Summers again for awarding me with the opportunity and deciding to invest in my future,” he said.
The scholarship contest, in its 10th year, requires no minimum grade point average. Students must plan on attending college in the fall and write an essay on a topic related to Black History Month. Academic standing and extracurricular involvement is taken into consideration.
Summers said he was honored to present the scholarship to Fox, who’s a student in the Bronzeville neighborhood where he grew up.
“It is clear from his academic and extracurricular involvement that he is a leader in his community,” Summers said. “Learning about his college plans and goals, I am certain he will be a great representation of Chicago at the prestigious Wesleyan University.”