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Five DSST Students earn Full-Ride Questbridge Scholarships

A single scholarship can change the entire course of a student’s life. Doors open, opportunities arise and futures shine a little brighter when financial burdens are removed from the equation.

Five DSST seniors got word that they had been awarded the QuestBridge Scholarship, which will provide them with a fully paid scholarship to college, as well as other resources they need to succeed. Congratulations to  Amanuel Abel, DSST: Montview; Emily Bennett, DSST: College View; Daijah Mijares, DSST: College View; Ester Mohamed, DSST: Byers; and  Emem Umo, DSST: Green Valley Ranch!

QuestBridge is a non-profit organization that works with talented students in need to help them attend “the nation’s best colleges and to support them to achieve success in their careers and communities.”

“To be awarded the QuestBridge scholarship was honestly a surreal experience,” Emem Umo said. “Upon seeing the award letter, I honestly froze and so many emotions were rushing through my mind.”

Umo said she was overwhelmed with pride because she never expected this was something she could achieve.

“To be able to attend university on a full ride means less worry for my mom. It means that my mom is able to have that sense of relief that I felt when opening the award letter,” Umo said. “That, paired with the sense of relief she got, is more than enough to elevate my achievement.”

That feeling of relief and accomplishment is something to which Ester Mohamed and Daijah Mijares can both relate.

“I was so nervous that I wouldn’t get in,” Mohamed said. “When I saw the confetti on the screen, I yelled and jumped, and I was really  happy. I’m so relieved that I don’t have to pay at all for college. I knew this would financially burden me and my family so that has been a huge relief.”

Allie Serina, Director of College Success at Byers, who also provided Mohamed with the support she needed to get this scholarship, said  “the financial benefits alone are truly life changing for both Ester and her entire family. The admission to Boston College will also change the trajectory of Ester’s life and provide her with education, opportunities, and connections that will allow her to have a powerful impact in our community.” 

Mijares said she remembers the first few days after the match. 

“I had to keep checking the match page just to make sure it wouldn't change,” Mijares said. “To have a full-ride to a university is my biggest accomplishment and is also a huge relief for me. I thought I wouldn't have a future because of my immigration status and yet I wanted more for my life regardless. So, to say I'm excited and grateful is an understatement.”

Each of the winners put in an enormous amount of hard work and to see their accomplishments rewarded has been one of the biggest joys for the directors of college success who helped the students achieve their goals. 

“When Ester first found out she got the scholarship, our community erupted in joy. Ester is a powerful black, Muslim, woman leader in our community and her acceptance to this scholarship opens the possibility of the same award for her peers who share her identity markers. Ester has shown the path to what is possible for students coming from Byers and I could not be more proud.”

Emem plans on studying biology, Mohamed plans on studying neuroscience and Mijares wants to study nursing, psychology or both. 

A huge congratulations to Emem, Ester, Daijah, Emily, and Amanuel for their achievements!