Zarai may be the youngest of six children, but she’s the first of her siblings to attend college. She enrolled in Middlebury College this fall on a Posse Scholarship and credits Minds Matter Chicago with helping her become a trailblazer in the Zaragoza family.
“Minds Matter opened doors of opportunity, and my mentors were always there as I walked through them into new territory,” Zarai said. “This program changed my life.”
Zarai participated in Minds Matter Chicago during her sophomore, junior and senior years at Phoenix Military Academy on the city’s west side. As part of her experience, Zarai was paired with two mentors, participated in test preparation sessions and attended summer programs at Skidmore College and in Japan — at no cost to her family.
“Minds Matter is more than just a program that helps you raise your ACT score,” she said. “The program creates a loving, safe and motivated community – one that I looked forward to visiting every Saturday during the school year to share my successes.”
Zarai found many successes during her three years with the program. Not only did she boost her ACT score, face her fear of public speaking and make friends from across the world whom she still talks to today — but Zarai earned a four-year full-tuition scholarship for college.
She shared her story to thunderous applause at this April’s Spring for the Students Gala, the signature event of Minds Matter Chicago.