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Saint Xavier students write about their experiences on "Road to Success"

Two students win $1,500 ACI essay contest

Chicago (May 11, 2006) – Two Saint Xavier University students were among six winners statewide to win the Associated Colleges of Illinois’ Road to Success essay contest, each garnering $1,500 merit awards for their efforts.

Saint Xavier students Amy Baio and Lidia Serrano wrote essays describing obstacles they have faced as they pursue college success, and how their experiences at Saint Xavier University have helped them overcome those challenges to prepare for the future. The contest was sponsored by Dr Pepper/7 UP Bottling Company.

“The winners of ACI’s Road to College Success essay contest demonstrate how vital it is to provide every at-risk student with the extra support they need to complete a college degree,” said Jerry Fuller, executive director of the Associated Colleges of Illinois. 

Baio, of Evergreen Park, is a senior majoring in English and secondary education and maintains a 3.76 grade-point average (out of a possible 4.0). “Children from a background like mine need empathy, motivation and someone to believe in them,” Baio wrote in her essay. “If they are told they do not have to repeat the vicious cycle of their parents, I believe they can do anything.” Currently, Baio is student teaching at Tinley Park High School and hopes to find a permanent teaching position upon graduation this month.

Serrano, of Chicago’s East Side, is a junior majoring in elementary education and has achieved high academic honors throughout her academic career. As she nears her goal of becoming a teacher – something she has dreamt about since first grade in Mexico – she is grateful to her professors for sharing “their experience, advice, dedication and firm belief that children deserve the best education.” Serrano wrote in her essay, “I want to help and encourage children to always do their best and reach for their goals, especially children who, like me, come from a disadvantaged background and face many difficulties.”

Established in 1952, the Associated Colleges of Illinois is a group of 24 private colleges and universities rooted in the liberal arts tradition that brings college, business and community leaders together to provide underserved students with the educational opportunities they need to become productive members of our society. 

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Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

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