On December 15th, KIPP Denver Collegiate Seniors and best friends Jesus and Rodrigo received a double dose of good news: both received offers of admission to the college of their dreams: Duke University.
Earlier this year, Jesus and Rodrigo participated in the Duke Preview Program, an all-expenses-paid, four-day visit to Duke University, complete with interviews with admissions counselors. During their visit, the pair of KIPPsters sat in on lectures, attended a football game, and explored the city of Durham, North Carolina.
After they returned to Colorado, they received a notification from the school informing them they were KIPP pre-review finalists, meaning they could expect to be offered admission to the school.
“We were the most nervous about that letter,” Rodrigo said. “It came on a day when we had a soccer game, so we were just waiting before the game to see if we were going to be accepted or not. We were most excited then because that was basically the in.”
Jesus and Rodrigo first met when they entered 5th grade at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, and by 6th grade, their friendship had taken off. When a representative from Duke presented to their KIPP Through College class their Sophomore year at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, the two students set their sights on it as their dream college.
As part of KIPP’s mission to support students in their search for the college that's the best fit, the KIPP Through College team provides students with KIPP’s College Match—a set of four factors that help students select the postsecondary option that’s best for them. The program helps students build lists of schools based on a number of factors to help maximize the student’s ability and desire to persist through and graduate from college.
“Since we started this process, we told ourselves, we’re both going to go,” Rodrigo said.
They’re happy to have each other as supporters and friends as they prepare to embark on their collegiate journey thousands of miles from home.
Despite the distance from Denver, Jesus felt at home at Duke as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
“I’ve always been in small schools,” Jesus said. “I’m excited for something big like Duke, to have more people around me.”
Both students will be the first in their families to go to college. They hope that students will see that having a goal and a plan are the first steps to achieving their dreams.
“I don’t think that it was about sacrifices,” said Rodrigo. “It was about doing the best we can—that was our mentality the whole time. We didn’t think we had to give anything up.”
“I always tell my little brother, ‘If you are meeting your expectations on a daily basis, you’re probably not reaching high enough,” said Jesus. “‘So, reach for the highest goals you can and you should be on a good path.’”