PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday March 18, 2019 – Amid a university admissions scandal that has been dominating headlines in the United States, a teenager born in Trinidad and Tobago is making news for all the right reasons.
Dylan Chidick, 17, who migrated from the twin-island republic when he was seven years old, has overcome homeless and has been accepted into 17 universities after applying to 20 in total.
After relocating to New Jersey with his mother and twin brothers, in search of a better life, the family fell on hard times in 2017 because of the mounting medical bills for the twin boys who suffer serious heart conditions, and they were in and out of homelessness.
Chidick struggled to study in shelters where he and his family were given board. Eventually, the non-profit Women Rising put them in permanent supportive housing, giving Chidick a safe place to study as he pursued his high school diploma at the Henry Snyder High School and worked to help his family.
“I believe that education is the key to basically the world. Nobody could take away the knowledge that you have,” the teen told NBC News. “They could take away your job or your money, but knowledge that you have in your brain, nobody could ever take that away.”
Since his story became known, several people have offered to help pay his full tuition and room and board to ensure he can attend college stress free, NBC News reported.
Although he has not decided which university he will pick, Chidick says he plans to study political science and history, and after graduating he wants to attend law school.
He will be the first person in his family to attend college.
Chidick’s situation is in sharp contrast to those involved in the college admissions scam in which dozens of wealthy parents, including celebrities, paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure spots for their children in elite universities.
Last week, federal prosecutors charged 50 people in what they called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
“I think it is unfair that people could just buy their way in,” Chidick told the New York Times. “But I know that it has been happening for a long time, and there is always going to be someone with more privilege and more connections, to have it easier than others. And that means that you have to work harder to achieve the same goals.”