Back of the Yards

Chicago Senior Who Had Rare Test Score Gets Full Ride to UofC

Ballesteros will be the first member of his family to graduate high school and attend college

University of Chicago

A Chicago senior who became one of 100 students around the world to achieve a perfect score on the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture exam has been given a full ride scholarship to the University of Chicago.

Arturo Ballesteros walked into the principal’s office during his third period class at Back of the Yards College Prep Wednesday wearing a UChicago T-shirt in preparation for the school’s admissions decision. There - surrounded by his parents, teachers, advisers and admissions counselors from the university- he was surprised with his acceptance and scholarship to the prestigious school.

“Arturo’s dedication to learning is unmatched,” Brandon McCallister, a senior admissions counselor at UChicago, said in a statement. “Everyone I have spoken with has praised his commitment to academics, his leadership and his genuine nature. I am thrilled that Arturo will be a member of our Class of 2024.”

Ballesteros, who will be the first member of his family to graduate high school and attend college, has “played two sports, danced for the Back of the Yards group Ballet Folklorico, served as National Honors Society president” and also helped support his family, according to the U of C. He plans to earn a joint bachelor’s and master’s degree through the university’s Urban Teach Education Program, with a goal of becoming an urban educator.

“I would like to teach in a low-income community,” Ballesteros said in a statement. “I’ve noticed that my teachers have the potential to help so many students here pursue their dreams and become agents of change for the community. I want to be able to do that as well.”

Ballesteros will received a full-ride through the UChicago Promise’s Chicago Public Schools Scholarship and the Odyssey Scholarship Program, “a comprehensive program that overcomes obstacles to higher education for talented students with financial need.”

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