Where there's a will, there's a way
When Dorisol "Dori" Inoa checked her inbox one day in August, she saw an email she couldn't ignore -- and it's a good thing she didn't. That message was the first step to obtaining a four-year scholarship to Wesleyan College in Connecticut.
Inoa, an hispanic New York City resident, attends Fayetteville-Manlius High School through a local chapter of a not-for-profit program called A Better Chance, Inc. (ABC). She lives in the ABC House, a residence for program participants, with four other girls, two Syracuse University graduate students and a resident director.
The program's mission? To increase the number of well-educated minority youth ready to assume positions of responsibility and leadership.
"I think you need to remember her name, because I think she might be famous," said Barbara Sutton, co-founder of the local chapter and member of the board of directors. There are more than 250 programs nationally with F-M being the only one in Onondaga County.
"Many of [the programs] are private school, private boarding independent schools, day schools in New York City, and others are community school programs like ours," Sutton said. "Our kids come from New York City."
Inoa's life-changing email, sent by the national organization, included a link to QuestBridge, which is another non-profit, educational program. QuestBridge provides low-income students with scholarship opportunities at 26 of the nation's best colleges such as Wesleyan College, Caltech, Vassar College and Yale University.
The stringent application deadline pushed Inoa to write three in-depth essays in less than four weeks; two of which she wrote up to nine drafts.
"The energy she put into the application was more than you'd expect from most high school kids," Sutton said. "She really went after it."
Last year, QuestBridge collected more than 3,000 applications nationwide; 1,700 applicants became finalists, and out of the 1,700 finalists, only 200 got scholarships.