This personal essay series features stories by high school students taking part in Chalkbeat’s fellowship program.

Here’s what I want you to know about Chicago’s Wendell Phillips Academy High School.
I resented the expectation that I lead with my trauma. But trauma is not the only thing that defines me, and it’s not the only reason I deserve to go to college.
Since coming to America, my parents have relied on me to navigate school conferences, doctors’ appointments, and even tax forms. Now I’m headed to college.
Desde que llegamos a Estados Unidos, mis padres han dependido de mi para entender conferencias en la escuela, citas médicas, y hasta formularios de impuestos. Ahora me voy a la universidad.
I had advocated for new approaches to discipline. Then I benefitted from them.
Mis papás hablan español; mi hermano de 8 años habla inglés. ¿Por qué no hay libros que ellos puedan disfrutar juntos?
My parents speak Spanish; my 8-year-old brother speaks English. Why aren’t there children’s books they can enjoy together?
On my first day of school, I wore a pink floral hijab. I didn’t realize it would make me a target.
The realities of racism, poverty, food insecurity, and gun violence surprised me.
I chose Science Park’s International Baccalaureate program for its rigorous academics. My classmates and teachers made it an experience I’ll cherish forever.
She invited me to live with her in Chicago, seizing the opportunity to change our family’s story.
After the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, I dread going to school. When will our leaders act?
While visiting historically Black campuses, I began to reimagine what my college experience could be.
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