How my last school choice became my first

By Garionna Price

My name is Garionna Price and I am a senior at George Washington Carver. I will be attending Illinois Wesleyan University with a full paid scholarship through the Posse Foundation Leadership Scholarship.

Prior to high school, I attended Fannie C Williams Charter School from 3rd to 8th grade. Throughout my middle school years, I was a straight A-B student. I was pretty good at math and loved reading. When I reached 8th grade and it was time to apply to high school, I knew I wanted to attend Warren Easton. It was all everyone ever talked about and it was a big popular high school. But when I didn’t get accepted, and friends around me did, I felt like I was lacking something. I was among some of the last students to be pooled into the last choice of schools.

I remember my mother and I just sitting in front of one of the OneApp volunteers. She said “ We only have Carver, Cohen, and International left. Which one do you want to go to?”  My mother asked what the schools’ grades were and Carver was the top of the three. Reluctantly, I picked Carver. I was skeptical of selecting Carver as my high school because I honestly didn’t hear anything good about the school. All I ever heard about was the legacy of the band, but nothing about the academics.

Once I began high school there, I was quiet and kept to myself because I had already made up my mind that Carver was a bad school based on the single story I had always heard. Then, to make matters worse, during my freshman year, I lost everything I owned in a house fire. Shortly afterward, my mother who was the only encouragement and support I had, passed away. During this time, I experienced a pain so excruciating I felt like I would not be able to grasp an understanding of the new terms of my life. However, this was when I learned the value of having a true Carver Ram Family. Teachers, friends, peers, and alum surrounded me in unconditional love and understanding. Sure, losing my mother made this a hard experience, but also a sobering one too. Having the support of my Ram family gave me the courage I needed to continue.

As I continued on my high school journey, I came across some obstacles, but my support system pushed me forward. I had a Ram family that believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. That love and support started to rub off on me, especially during my 10th-grade year. I started to work harder, and apply more effort. As a result, I started to receive opportunities like joining Bard Early College, becoming a College Track scholar, and being one of the Carver scholars selected for an all expense paid summer program at Franklin and Marshall College.

These experiences along with being a Carver Ram molded my value of education and made me persevere. When my senior year came around I was recommended twice to do Posse. I had never heard of Posse and based on their presentation they provided a full tuition paid scholarship and was an early college decision program. This scared me because I was a large support for my family and I was afraid to leave them. Also, the idea of agreeing to early decision scared me. So, based on that alone, I almost let an opportunity of a lifetime pass me by. But then the support of my Ram family came to aid me again. As a result, I went through all three rounds of interviews at Posse and was the only scholar from my school to make it to the final round and receive the Posse Foundation Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship to fund the next four years of my journey.

Moving forward with Posse, I found more to become excited about. Among, receiving a full tuition paid scholarship, I was adopted into another family of support. Posse is not just a scholarship, but also a program. You are selected to explore the next four years of your life with ten other students, your posse, from the same community that you are from and literally take a college campus, community, and later world by total storm. This opportunity has really helped me think about what my life will look like.

It has given me a fiery yearning to want to embark on this new journey. I have always wanted to be a doctor and I have a deep passion for social activism. I will study the premedical track while focusing on business. I want to also focus on business because I can approach social activism in a different way- social entrepreneurship- by doing this I can rebuild underserved communities through private ownership. I plan to do this after I have established a career in the medical field. Therefore, I am excited to expand on my goals for my future and build them up while on my journey at Illinois Wesleyan University.

I say all this to encourage students just like me, who have had a tough experience to rise to the cream of the crop. Never let your personal obstacles allow you to lose sight of your dreams. Never tell yourself no and shoot for everything you want and deserve because someone else will always be willing to tell you no. Lastly, always give your dreams space to grow and evolve as you do and absolutely plan to take the world by storm!


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