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Young Brooklyn scholars set their sights on Harvard

Mott Hall Bridges Academy goes to HarvardWho knew that the influence one special principal, Nadia Lopez of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, had on an eighth grade student named Vidal Chastanet, would change her life and the destiny for students in Brownsville, New York forever? Vidal was stopped by a photographer on his way home from school who asked if he could interview him for his blog “Humans of New York.” Stanton asked the 8th grader who inspired him the most, and he responded it was his principal, Nadia Lopez. Why?

“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us,” said Chastanet, 13. “She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us.”

tweets about the tripThree days later Stanton and principal Nadia Lopez launched a GoFundMe fundraiser on Stanton’s website for the students to take a trip to Harvard University. Within 24 hours they raised more than $100,000. In 14 days they were elated to announce they had raised $1.4 million. Needless to say there was more than enough money for the road trip to Harvard. The difference will be used for future trips as well as $700,000 to set up a scholarship fund for the students. The first scholarship will go to Chastanet. A committee of the academy’s educators and administrators will choose the recipients of what will be called the Vidal Scholarship Fund.

Mott Bridges Academy Students exploring HarvardFinally, the students have arrived at Harvard where a host of activities were set up for them to give them a taste of college life first hand. The students got to experience some hands-on learning activities across campus, from the American Repertory Theater to the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

President Drew Faust greeted the crowd inside the Harvard Art Museums’ Calderwood Courtyard with a very emotional and inspiring speech.

Nadia Lopez speaks to the studentsNext Nadia Lopez addressed her students (addressed as scholars with the following words:

“This is your right, and this is an option for you. The only thing that will stop you from getting to this space is yourselves,” she said.

“The reason I chose Harvard” for the college visit “is because I stopped myself. No one else did it. No one said ‘Nadia Lopez, you can’t make it.’ No one said I wasn’t intelligent enough. I made an assumption about a space I had never been to. That’s why you’re here today.”

Harvard What an amazing experience and an amazing set of circumstances Lopez landed right into the palm of her hands (and her go fund me account) . I’m so excited to hear this story I thought I would share it with you. Lopez shares the story as she is receiving her 2015 Black Girls Rock Change Agent Award. You never know what you can get unless you ask for it! This is a woman who was passionate about a change taking place so she took action and a change in her life and the lives and destiny for her students is exactly what she got.

Source: Harvard Gazette

Photo Credit: Facebook / Twitter