Despite the bullets, bodies and insurmountable negative light Chicago is seen as from an outsider’s perspective, the fact remains it’s a beautiful city with beautiful stories. Fourteen-year-old Thessalonika Arzu-Embry is one of them, a rose growing from concrete in a sense.
Thessalonika is putting the finishing touches on a college career that started three years ago at College of Lake County and will end next month with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Chicago State.
“My college experience is a traditional college experience for me — it is just that I have completed it faster,” Thessalonika said. “I am very excited about joining others in having the opportunity to contribute to society in a significant way.”
…If that weren’t impressive enough, the 14-year-old carries a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the school’s Honors College, a program designed for talented and highly motivated students. And she serves as a student senator.
What this says that a young lady not even old enough for a learner’s permit has an idea of her career mapped out better than myself, I’m exactly sure just yet. But all kudos and respect to this young knowledge seeker for pursuing a dream and making it become a reality.
These are the stories that need to be highlighted more alongside the depressing and heartbreaking eulogies the city has become infamously known for. Maybe not amazingly young college graduates, but just some sort of good news that involves the people of Chicago. Not every resident of the city is out to rob, rape or kill everyone walking. There’s still people who get up every morning, bust their ass at a job and keep food on the table and the air conditioner running. Will it alleviate the image of Chicago being this third world country where people walk around strapped like the real-life version of Call Of Duty?
Not overnight, but changing the culture of Chicago seems like it would go hand-in-hand with changing the perception around it.