Sunday, April 3, 2011
Timeica Bethel: From The Projects To Yale
Bethel's inspirational story of her grandmother's support, academic success and commitment to her community is a must-read.
It is the stuff modern-day fairy tales are made off, except this one is 100% real. The Chicago Tribune tells a remarkable story of Timeica Bethel, who at the age of 3 was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother and was raised by her Grandmother in Chicago’s LeClaire Courts projects. Her grandmother, Mary Lewis, encouraged Timeica and her three siblings in their love of books, which for Timeica, translated into a general love of learning that propelled her to the top of her class in Hearst Elementary School.
After getting a full scholarship in eighth grade to attend any high school of her choice, she chose a Parker School, one of the top high schools in Chicago. After initial growing pains – she had a hard time fitting in with her much wealthier classmates and felt she might be unable to compete – she blossomed academically, graduating with 3.9 GPA and submitting applications to the whole slate of Ivy League Universities. Although she was accepted to Harvard and Duke (among others), after a campus visit she decided that Yale was the place for her.
And now, a mere two months before her Yale graduation, she’s back in Chicago to pay a visit to her old neighborhood. As she’s taking pictures she thinks about the people who’ve helped her along the way. Teachers who encouraged her, and especially the grandmother who protected and nurtured her and still weeps almost every time she talks of her granddaughter’s success.
Once she gets her degree, Timeica is planning to come back to Chicago for good. She plans to become a teacher and to leverage her inspirational story to inspire other kids, in turn, to aim for and reach great heights, just like she had.