Chicago, IL — Trameka Pope, an 18-year student from Chicago, has overcome many obstacles. While in elementary school, her and her mom became homeless. By 8th grade, she was pregnant. And by 9th grade, she gave birth. But yet she went on to become high school valedictorian at Wendell Phillips Academy High School, graduating at the top of her class.
She added, “I didn’t give up. I pushed myself hard. And my baby motivated me every day because I wanted to provide for her and I also didn’t want to be a statistic.”
But wait, there’s more
Pope has been been accepted to more than 25 colleges, and she has received more than $600,000 in scholarships. This fall, she is planning to attend Western Illinois University in the fall and wants to earn a Ph.D. in social work.
Pope didn’t just excel academically. She was a cheerleader, a member of National Honor Society, and she even participated in several other extracurricular activities. She even held down a job at a local grocery store.
Where credit is due
Pope credits her success to Dawn Jackson, her social worker, as well as her school’s counselors and a unique non-profit called SGA Youth and Family Services. SGA helps Chicago children, families and communities who face great challenges with few resources to see their potential and discover new paths to success. The organization has an excellent track record.
“No matter what background you come from, it doesn’t matter if you have a child as a teen, no matter what people say about you, you still can, you can make it, and you can become something,” said Jackson.