My student was accepted to Northwestern with a 90% scholarship! He is responsible for $7500. He is (rightfully) fearful of taking out loans because he and his family are undocumented. Please help! Read about him below.
This is the letter of recommendation I wrote for this student when he was in eighth grade. Four years later, he is even more exceptional!!! His name has been changed for privacy purposes.
My name is Michael Meaney and I am an 8 grade science teacher at Isaac Middle School in the Isaac School District. I am also a current Teach for America Corps Member, and the former Student Body President of Georgetown University.
I write to enthusiastically recommend a current student of mine, Alfredo, for admission to Brophy College Preparatory. Indeed, based on my experience, I believe Alfredo is the most exceptional student I have ever encountered. I believe that Alfredo’s demonstrated intellectual prowess, his determination, as well as his authenticity and compassion make him a truly once in a lifetime candidate for admission to Brophy. I am fully certain that he is academically capable of Brophy’s rigorous education, and I believe he would add a unique element of depth and maturity to the Brophy student body.
Alfredo is in my 6 period class, so I teach him every day. I have thus come to know him both as a teacher and as a mentor over the past six months. He was one of the first students to approach me during “meet the teacher night.” He humbly introduced himself – with the firmest handshake from an 8 grader I have ever received – asked what materials would be needed for the coming semester, and expressed an eagerness to learn and to succeed.
That eagerness to learn and to succeed has been on display ever since. Alfredo is one of only five students to have above a 92% average on all my exams (I teach over 140 students). And he is one of only a few to receive an A in my science class both first and second quarter. He is prepared for class every day, and he has never submitted an assignment late. He cooperates well with his shoulder partner and during group work. He is a diligent student who has fully embraced the rigor of my course. Alfredo has a particular aptitude for scientific inquiry, which has most recently been on display during the science fair. But his scientific sensibilities have been apparent each day in my classroom, as his inquisitiveness leads him to ask complex questions well beyond the scope of any material we have covered. He is unsatisfied with simple, incomplete answers, and will come in before and after class to probe and press for more information. I am certain that he is already academically capable of taking and succeeding in high school level science courses.
Alfredo is also the top of his class in english and math. He is a year ahead in math, taking Algebra I this year (and taking a 7am zero-hour course to do so to boot!). His math and English teachers can write in more detail about his success in those courses. What I would like to write about here is what I have come to know personally well and to admire – his determination and ambition. Alfredo has not experienced a life a privilege. Alfredo was born in Mexico, and came to the United States when he was one year old. His parents both migrated from Mexico with little more than their infant children. His father works in construction and carpentry while his mother raises the family (she is actively involved in all aspects of the children’s school life). Like all students at Isaac Middle School, Alfredo receives free breakfast and lunch every single day. He has been raised in a broken school system that lacks the resources needed to help him realize his full potential.
But while materially poor, Alfredo is rich in determination and ambition. He excels in his classroom work because of the profound realization – which he apparently came to years ago – that he could only change his family’s life if he succeeded in school. He is unsurpassed in integrity, and he is nearly unaffected by the shallow mores and norms that pervade his middle school. More than once he has stood up for me, the teacher, in the face of 35 unruly classmates. At the same time, he is respected as genius by his peers, and not a single student has a problem with him. Alfredo does all this with no trace of arrogance – in fact, he does this with almost no self-impress at all. He is fully comfortable with who he is. In a school filled with young people searching for meaning and personhood in materialism and spectacle, Alfredo carries an unmistakable aura of authenticity.
When asked about his ultimate goals, Alfredo first replies with a very practical concern – he wants to move his family into the middle class and into a better life. He then discusses his concern for his community, and his desire to have a positive impact there, and on the larger world. Alfredo is, already, a man for others.
I am confident that, given the opportunity to study in the extraordinary place that is Brophy, he will continue to develop intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration of Alfredo’s application. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any reason, as I would be happy to discuss any questions, comments, or concerns you may have about Alfredo.
Thank you for your time.