Photo: Women Rising
After receiving 17 college acceptance letters, Dylan Chidick will be the first person in his family to attend college.
Chidick, a senior at Henry Snyder High School in New Jersey, moved from Trinidad to the United States when he was seven years old. He went on to excel in school despite his circumstances, which include enduring homelessness and his younger twin brothers being diagnosed with serious heart conditions. During their financial hardship after Chidick’s mother, Khadine Phillips, lost her job, his family lived in a homeless shelter. Phillips later sought help from Women Rising, a non-profit organization that provided her family with permanent supportive housing.
“My family went through a lot and there has been a lot of people saying, ‘you can’t do that,’ or ‘you’re not going to achieve this,’ and me — getting these acceptances — kind of verifies what I have been saying. I can do it and I will do it,” Chidick told CBS News.
With that can do attitude, Chidick became senior class president, vice president of his school’s National Honor Society, and got accepted into 17 out of the 18 colleges he applied to (he’s still waiting on an admission decision from his top choice of the College of New Jersey). All of his college application fees were waived due to his financial situation.
“I believe that education is the key to basically the world. Nobody could take away the knowledge that you have,” NBC News reports Chidick saying. “They could take away your job or your money, but knowledge that you have in your brain, nobody could ever take that away.”
Chidick plans to major in political science and hopes to one day become a lawyer. His future plans also include helping his mother turn her dream of opening a Caribbean restaurant into a reality.
“I’m used to being a role model already because I have two younger brothers. I’ve always known I have someone looking up to me, but now there’s kids that I never met before saying you’re an inspiration,” Chidick explained. “It makes me feel great inside and it warms my heart to know there are other people out there having the same situation as me and using my story as an example to push through it.”
Congratulations, Dylan! Your perseverance and academic excellence is an inspiration to us all.