As white celebrities come under fire for bribing colleges to accept their kids in an education scandal that reminds us how privilege has pushed certain teens ahead in life and cheated others in terms of educational opportunity, Dylan Chidick, 17, of Jersey City, N.J. shows that the rules don’t need to be broken.
While $25 million was uncovered by the FBI to be used in bribery, along with cheating on college exams, and fake scholarships, Khadine Phillip, Chidick’s mom, got up the courage to seek help from a nonprofit called Women Rising and get her family in a better position to succeed.
Chidick has been accepted to 17 schools, including New Jersey City University (DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti is on the university’s board), Ramapo, and Albright and he’s hoping for the College of New Jersey to make the number of acceptances 18.
Phillip, unlike the privileged celebrity parents, sought help the right way to help her child succeed.
“She is a great example in doing everything necessary to help her children,” said Roseann Mazzeo, executive director for Women Rising, the nonprofit that assists women and families in poverty with housing, job placement and counseling.
Given that Black students have many more obstacles to getting into college, including fitting into the mold of non-radical student, getting better grades and working harder than white privileged students, and prove that they don’t cheat, Chidick’s accomplishment stands out even more.
His mom came to the U.S. from Trinidad 10 years ago with her children and became citizens. But the family struggled through homelessness as she worked to care for all her children, including two younger twin boys with serious heart conditions. Chidick saw his mom push through the struggles and she inspired him to aspire for a better life.
“Making herself vulnerable and putting herself out there, that made me determined to never let us get back in that situation again,” he said.
Chidick was inducted into the honor society and became senior class president at his high school.
“My family went through a lot and there has been a lot of people saying, ‘you can’t do that,’ or ‘you’re not going to achieve this,’ and me — getting these acceptances — kind of verifies what I have been saying. I can do it and I will do it,” Dylan Chidick said.