November 26, 2014 | Lauren Zumbach, Chicago Tribune

Umoja strives to give high school kids a leg up

It's college application season, which means Christian Lloyd is busy. The Sullivan High School senior has completed his Common Application but is hard at work on the 12th draft of his personal statement and is prepping for additional college visits this month.

College, he said, is the next step toward his dream career: trauma surgeon.

It's a big shift for Lloyd, who two years ago was a sophomore "living in the now." Most people in his West Pullman neighborhood who continued their education after high school went to community college, Lloyd said, and he assumed he'd do the same.

"I knew I wanted better than that, but I didn't really think about it because I didn't have the best of grades," Lloyd said.

He credits Umoja Student Development Corp., a nonprofit that partnered with Sullivan and other Chicago high schools, with helping him realize he could set his sights higher.


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