When Che’la W. walks across the stage to signify the culmination of high school, she’ll be standing next to her twin brother as she has done for many milestones in life. But this moment will be different. After high school, Che’la and her twin will go their separate ways as she leaves Dallas to attend Texas Christian University on a full-ride scholarship.
“I feel like the moment will hit me when I’m on stage. My life is changing, so is his, and we won’t be together for much longer,” she said.
Earlier this year, Che’la was awarded a STEM scholarship from TCU. Being awarded this scholarship is a moment in life she has yearned for: to be seen.
The STEM Scholar program is one of TCU’s most ambitious programs and provides academic support and leadership development to students from underrepresented populations.
“The scholarship is for underrepresented people in the STEM field, but I feel underrepresented in a different sense,” Che’la expressed. “I participate in a lot of activities and I work really hard, but colleges don’t acknowledge that. TCU did.”
Che’la applied and was accepted to numerous universities, but didn’t receive the financial assistance she knew she deserved. TCU’s STEM Scholar Program offers a full four-year scholarship.
The ability to stand on her own in this new chapter of her life is due, in part, to the strong educational foundation she earned at Bryan Adams High School Leadership Academy. Throughout her four years in high school, Che’la was a member of more than a dozen student activities. She participated in the dance team, track, choir, creative writing club, and the National Honor Society. Che’la credits her success at Bryan Adams to the unwavering support of her teachers, particularly Daniel Forsythe.
“While I’ve never had the honor of teaching Che’la in class, I’ve been privileged to see her excel at every point of her academic journey here at BA,” Forsythe said. He met Che’la during her freshman orientation. “The tiniest person in the room had the biggest personality. She helped break the ice and got everyone talking. I was so grateful for her.”
Her helping spirit is something Che’la continues to express. Forsythe recalled a recent interaction when Che’la reminded him of who she is at her core. “Recently, she volunteered as a tutor for sophomores who were about to take the English II STAAR test. She sat with a small group of students and helped them perfect their reading analysis strategies. Just like that first day back in 2019, Che’la set others at ease and paved the way for the success of those around her.”
Her passion for helping people and her innate empathy drove her to choose psychology as her field of study in college. She envisions herself becoming a therapist, providing support to individuals dealing with anxiety and other challenges.
Looking back on her high school experience, Che’la cherishes the relationships she formed with her teachers and fellow students at Bryan Adams. She fondly recalls the sense of belonging and support she felt within her school community, emphasizing the importance of these connections.
As she prepares to leave high school and embark on her college journey, she anticipates the opportunities ahead. While she acknowledges the bittersweet feeling of leaving behind familiarity, she is excited to stand on her own in this next chapter of life, ready to make a difference in the world.