College Admissions Assistance’ $1500 Scholarship Goes to Christian Plunket of Chicago

College Admissions Assistance (CAA) announced last week that Christian Plunkett, a Chicago-based high school graduate, has won the $1,500 Grand Prize for its “Class of 2013” scholarship For the past six years, CAA has asked its outgoing senior class to participate in a “senior survey” scholarship contest.   This year there were five scholarships awarded, and all the winners were chosen at random. Christian, a music collector by trade, has always been drawn to the field. He plans to attend Western Illinois University, where he will major in communications this fall. He hopes to ultimately work in radio, TV, or possibly for a magazine after earning his bachelor’s degree. “I have been told by teachers and many others that this is a good career choice for me,” he says. “So why not do something that truly interests me?” A very active student in high school, Christian wouldn’t change much about his experience. Some of his favorite activities involved attending football games and exploring his creativity by working on the yearbook and newspaper staff. He’s learned from his mistakes and would advise those planning for college to focus on their grades and test scores. “With higher grades and test scores there is more opportunity to go wherever you choose and to receive more scholarships,” he said. “They should start strong, and finish strong. The high school Homecoming Prince says he plans to join Western Illinois’ newspaper staff as well as a fraternity. Christian says that he fell in love with the campus atmosphere and the attitude of the students and faculty during a campus visit.   That visit, along with Western’s generous financial aid offer and overall affordability, were the deciding factors cementing his decision to attend this college. “I did not want to be ‘another statistic,’ that is, another black male growing up on the west side of Chicago and dropping out of high school,” he said. “I could not and did not let that happen.” With Christian’s optimistic “that’s life” attitude, he has a lot to be proud of. He is the first in his family to attend a traditional, four-year university and spent most of his high school evenings being the primary caregiver for  his four younger siblings as his mom worked long hours and took online college classes. “I started to get tired, my grades started to drop, and I was exhausted with all the responsibility. With CAA as a resource, homework became easier and my college experience became exciting,” he said. “When my attitude changed I saw my siblings’ attitude change. My sister struts through the house and actually talks about college now and how she wants to join CAA.” Christian told CAA that he has a lot to thank them for and explained the program helped him and his often-busy mother stay on track and make “sound and smart decisions” throughout the college planning process. He also said he is very thankful to his mother for always making sacrifices for his education. “My use of this program allowed my mom to focus on other things,” he said. “Having that peace of mind made me happy for my mother. Thanks to CAA I can officially say I am going to the right college.” CAA is extremely proud of Christian and his accomplishments and hopes his scholarship winnings give him the jump-start he deserves. He believes he is setting a new bar for his younger siblings and we agree.  The family plans to continue the CAA program with his younger sister, who is now a sophomore in high school.