Epic senior receives $1.2M in college scholarships

Esmeralda Rivera, a senior at Epic Academy College Prep High School, has received more than $1.2 million in college scholarships and has been accepted at more than 23 colleges and universities throughout the country, including Bowdoin College, Marquette University, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

With a 4.3 grade point average, when Esmeralda (or Esme for short) isn’t studying or taking college credit courses at Harold Washington College as part of the City Colleges of Chicago’s dual enrollment program, she’s participates in a variety of extracurricular activities including National Honors Society, yearbook, and the senior event committee. Because of her dedication to giving back, she also volunteers as a peer mentor to underclassmen and a tutor for elementary school-aged children.

Compelled to make a positive contribution in her community, she leads a group of teens who voluntarily clean up their 79th street neighborhood twice a month. Her inspiration for creating this cleanup program she explained was, “I thought that if our neighborhood was cleaner and people were happier, maybe some of the violence in our community would stop.”

A first generation college student, Esme plans to pursue degrees in nursing and marketing next fall. She credits her mom and caring teachers at Epic, with helping her overcome her fears and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.

Epic Academy executive director Myetie Hamilton said that Esme is “an outstanding student and a role model for her peers”.

About Epic Academy College Prep High School: Founded in 2009, Epic Academy College Prep High School is a Level 1 public, open-enrollment charter school located in South Chicago. Epic Academy is ranked 15th among 130 public high schools in Chicago.