Scholar Story: Sam
Chicago, IL

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SamSam was only a year old when his parents moved the family to Cameroon, Africa, where they worked as missionaries translating the New Testament of the Bible into the local dialect. For twelve years, Sam lived with his family in a remote village without electricity or running water. He befriended many local children, learned to speak French and witnessed first-hand the horrors of poverty. Due to the village’s poor school system, Sam and his three siblings were home-schooled by their mother.

When the family moved back to America, Sam began attending public school for the first time in his life. He found that he was behind his peers academically.

“I had a lot of catching up to do my eighth grade year,” Sam said. “But I had experienced so much more than my peers in terms of seeing poverty, experiencing a different culture and learning another language.”

Due to his academic achievements and his involvement in school activities like basketball, Business Club and Young Movie Makers, Sam was awarded with a scholarship from Chicago HOPE Dollars for Scholars®, which is helping to offset the cost of attending college at Valparaiso University.

Sam, currently a freshman, was shaped by his experiences growing up in Africa and has chosen to major in International Economics & Cultural Affairs, which is a combination of history, political science, foreign language, and economics. He would like to work for an American company in Africa or Europe after he graduates.

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