ENGLEWOOD — Lindblom Academy students have been accepted into three of the crown jewels of American higher ed: Harvard, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Described as "dream students," Andrea Bossi will attend Harvard; Faith Jones will enroll at MIT and Abisola Olawale will be at Stanford.
During the Englewood high school’s annual College Decision Day on Wednesday, all college-bound seniors shared with the student body which school they would attend after graduation.
Assistant Principal Karen Fitzpatrick focused on one state and one college or university at a time before calling up each student by name as teachers and fellow classmates applauded in the school's auditorium.
The energy and excitement increased when Fitzpatrick shouted into the mic that Bossi was their first Lindbloom student to get into Harvard. Bossi proudly walked to the front of the crowded room, wearing a Harvard t-shirt.
Later, Bossi, 17, said, “I didn’t think people really get into Harvard.”
“I applied because I heard people framing their rejection letters and I wanted to frame it, but yeah, that didn’t happen,” she said.
She thought she would be attending the University of Chicago.
Andrea Bossi, left, Abisola Olawale, Faith Jones, right. [DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson]
“When I got in [to Harvard] I started crying because it threw everything off that I had planned,” Bossi said.
She put biology on her application, but said she’s not sure if that’ll change to neurobiology, or something else. She was one of nine students at Lindblom that helped build a camera that was sent to Antartica in an attempt to photograph the rare Icefish, a project that was a collaboration with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
She said the opportunities at Lindblom fully prepared her for college. She also knew how to “just relax,” have fun and participate in things that interested her.
Bossi, who splits homelife between Grand Crossing and Roseland, said younger students shouldn’t stress about colleges and also encouraged them to apply to the private universities because they sometimes offer the most financial aid.
Olawale, 18, will be at her top choice, Stanford, in the fall. The Ashburn resident, who is using scholarships to cover expenses, said she’s planning to pursue computer science, an interest that was sparked in her sophomore year at Lindblom.
“It’s just hard to believe I’m going to college, it hasn’t clicked yet,” she said.
She and her family moved to the U.S. from Nigeria when she was eight. She said education has always been extremely important in her family and that she appreciates what Lindblom has offered. The opportunities are much greater in the U.S. compared to in Nigeria she said.
“It’s like an amazing place to go to school,” Olawale said. “In Nigeria you don’t get programs like robotics, you don’t get video gaming classes, you don't get the chance to kind of explore what you like.”
She said she was intimidated by the accomplishments and grades of other Stanford students and almost didn’t apply.
“I think it’s important to remember that we all have something to bring to these schools and they’re actively looking for people, like regular people,” Olawale said. “I have good grades, but I didn’t like cure cancer or anything.”
Jones, 18, said MIT was her top choice and experienced different emotions when she learned she had been accepted.
“Disbelief was the first thing, shock and then I was really happy,” said the Washington Heights resident.
Her plans are to study mechanical engineering, which she grew to love, she said.
“Starting high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Jones said. “We get randomly placed into an elective. I got placed into engineering my freshman year.”
Although the first class was difficult she said it was also one of her “best” classes. She decided to continue taking more related courses and even joined the school’s robotics team her sophomore year.
Fitzpatrick said that the faculty and staff are proud of all the graduates. But Bosse, Jones and Olawale have set the bar high for the younger students.
“They’re just like dream students,” she said.