An ABC journey opens new opportunities

Felicia Reyes AHS 2013

“College is the place where I'll find all of these open doors that I can just walk through,” states a visibly energized Felicia Reyes, referring to her next four years at the University of Southern California on a full-ride scholarship.

“I am most looking forward to the many classes I can choose. It’s one of the few times in life where you can study philosophy or sociology… or just about anything. I’ll study hard in my major, but I’ll look at all these other options, too."

Graduated with the AHS class of 2013, Reyes plans to focus on neuroscience with an emphasis on addiction. “I’ve seen first-hand what addiction can do [to others]. I want to help.”

Felicia’s ABC story began four years ago as she was on her way to becoming valedictorian of her 8th-grade class at a large under-resourced middle school in Anaheim, Calif. “I was always academically focused,” she recounts. She was motivated to attend a good college, but she realized that it would be a challenging leap from her hometown high school, with its 50% dropout rate. Now, four years later and her dream of college realized, Felicia affirms that being an ABC student is about much more than just gaining access to a better high school.

To top off her year, Felicia was chosen to receive our A Better Chance national office's highest award. In front of hundreds of guests, she was awarded the Judith Berry Griffin Award for three remarkable achievements: outstanding academic performance, exceptional and steadfast determination to persevere and achieve in spite of obstacles encountered in life, and demonstrated leadership ability. Felicia was chosen from among ABC graduating seniors at more than 300 schools across the U.S.

After the graduation, family, ABC staff, board members and scholars headed out for a celebratory evening; a great opportunity to spend more time with Felicia's family members. Felicia joins the ranks of many other alumni of A Better Chance of Andover since 1967!

Read more of Felicia's heartwarming story in our Spring newsletter.

Andover ABC will welcome two 9th-graders into the program in the fall. A'Mari Bing-Way, from Waldorf, Md., is an excellent student with a special interest in the visual arts. She is an only child and is excited about the opportunity for connection offered by ABC’s group living environment.

Nilda Vega is from New Haven, Conn. She is a serious student who looks forward to the challenging studies as well as competing in sports at Andover High School. She is on the Student Council in her current school.