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AVID Senior Receives Prestigious Posse Scholarship To DePauw University

Kaela Gutierrez, Editor

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     Just as the majority of high school seniors around the country are stressing about submitting their first college applications, the wait is over for Taft senior Kagna Hou. Hou was awarded the prestigious Posse Scholarship and will attend DePauw University with her tuition fully paid.

     The Posse Foundation, located in ten different cities throughout the country, awards its well known Posse Scholarship to exceptionally well rounded students who, after undergoing three rounds of intensive interviews, are chosen to attend one of their partner colleges. The colleges the scholars have the opportunity to choose from are all out of state and have their tuition fully paid for the exception of room and board.

     “My brother was a Posse Scholar. He already went through the whole process and so it’s something I have been hearing about for years. When it came to junior year, I knew it was a goal I had to work towards. Being able to attend DePauw is a really huge accomplishment for me because it has always been my top choice school, and it’s a environment I can really see myself in,” said Hou.

     As far as the interview process, Hou describes them as very long and nerve-wracking. Starting with almost 3000 student in the first round, and ending with only 20 students in the third and final round, the interviews were intense.

     “The third round interview was four hours long. I got the phone call around 8pm when I got home that same day. They asked me how I thought I did and if I enjoyed the process. At the end, they said ‘We’d like to tell you that you are a Posse Scholar for DePauw.’ It was an indescribable feeling,” said Hou.

     Throughout her time in high school, Hou knew how important her involvement within her school community would be when she later began applying to colleges. Beginning her freshman year, she was a part of photography club and on the soccer team; however, her sophomore year, Hou joined track and has been on the team since.

     Also during Hou’s sophomore year, she dedicated her IB Personal Project to helping the local homeless community, which she also credits to helping her with Posse.

     “I dedicated my project to raising awareness and helping out the local homeless people. I created flyers and asked my teachers to help out. Students brought in a bunch of donations and they were later separated into bags and handed out personally. That’s one of the things that really helped me because Posse is really interested in leadership and being involved in the community,” said Hou.

     In addition to her extracurriculars, Hou has been a part of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program for four years, is part of the National Honors Society as of last year, and is also a Chicago Scholar.

     AVID teacher Juan Salinas has been Hou’s AVID teacher for the past three years and has all good things to say about her accomplishments and her scholarship.

     “I am extremely proud of her. Having worked with her throughout the past four years, I have observed her strong work ethic and she definitely worked hard to get [Posse]. It’s going to give her the opportunity to make her dreams a reality, to reach her goals and to really allow her to do what she wants to do,” said Salinas.

     Hou has dedicated her academic life to being as successful as possible for both herself and her family. As an immigrant coming from Cambodia at a young age, education is all her parents hoped for her and her siblings.

     “We moved to America solely for the purpose of education. That was something that my parents sacrificed a lot for us. I feel like that kind of sacrifice has always been set onto me. It’s a pressure that I have always had and it’s definitely the original goal to work towards because this has been everything we’ve worked up to,” said Hou.

     When telling her family she had received the scholarship, Hou said it was a super happy moment.

     “[My mom] was really really happy. She was crying and my dad was also super happy. And my brothers were really proud because they feel like I am going to continue what they left behind at DePauw,” said Hou.

     Because of her background and upbringing, Hou plans to hopefully study in a field that may pertain to helping other immigrants.

     “I either want to be involved in social work– Depauw offers a sociology program and that’s something I might be interested in– or I hope to be working with immigrants or anything immigration related because I feel like my experience has really helped me to pursue that career,” said Hou.

     As Hou continues with the rest of her senior year, she looks forward excitedly to being on her own next year and having the chance to gain the new experiences coming her way.

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AVID Senior Receives Prestigious Posse Scholarship To DePauw University