Cristopher Alvarado’s college expenses have been settled, so he can now concentrate on others things – like finishing middle school.
The Collinswood Language Academy eighth-grader learned recently that he was selected as a Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation was established in 2000 through the will of businessman and philanthropist Jack Kent Cooke.
According to the website, the foundation is dedicated to supporting individuals of exceptional promise – those who work hard, stay focused and defy the stereotype that poverty precludes high achievement.
The Young Scholar program selects eighth- through 12th-graders with exceptional academic talent, leadership and character. The scholars receive immediate support from an educational advisor and financial support for their individualized learning plan.
Cristopher was one of 52 students selected from hundreds of applicants across the country.
“It feels amazing, honestly,” he said. “It's a huge relief. Now I can be the best that I can be without the financial insecurities about college. I'm thinking big now.”
Cristopher is an honors student, a member of the National Academic League and a participant in the CMS Spectrum of the Arts summer program for writing. He also plays the French horn.
Collinswood educators agree that Cristopher deserves the foundation’s honor and many more. He sweeps quarterly awards ceremonies at Collinswood and has been on the A Honor Roll for five years and counting.
“Cristopher is one of those students who really enjoys school,” said Spanish teacher Lilliana Forero. “He’s not the student who does homework for a grade. He really wants to learn.”
His work speaks for itself, said social studies teacher Francisco Benitez.
“He always does more than you request,” Benitez added.
Language arts teacher Lisa Clark agrees.
“His writing is out of this world,” she said. “It’s college-level.”
High grades and receiving accolades could make some students cocky, but Principal Nicolette Grant says Cristopher is “the perfect child.”“He’s intelligent. He’s kind. He’s humble,” she said. “He’s just a wonderful young man and we’re so proud of him and so proud of his parents and the work they’ve done with him.”