100% of the Class of 2020 received undergraduate academic scholarships totaling over $28,000,000.
Aliyana Bonilla ’20, Binghamton University: I knew I always wanted to belong to the Chez Nous community because of its stellar academic and supportive reputation. Even on my first day, I felt a part of the community. ND motivated me to set the foundations in order to achieve my goals. During my junior year, my counselor, Ms. Hickson, introduced me to the Futures and Options Program, which led to a summer internship where I had the opportunity to sit down with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Commissioner Ray Kelly. Notre Dame guided me to other new experiences that intersected with the career I wanted to pursue. From working as campaign staff to ND alumna City Councilwoman, Carlina Rivera ‘02, to landing an internship at a law firm, I could not be more thankful to have ND as one of my biggest supporters. Whenever I did have challenges, I knew I could go to a teacher or counselor for help. Coming from a Latino family, and the low statistics on Latin American teens attending college, I was intimidated by the pressures of breaking through. However, with ND’s consistent support throughout the college process, I was confident I could achieve the impossible. I am proud to say I will be studying politics, philosophy and law at Binghamton University on a full scholarship.
Kelly Guzman ’20, Boston College: I am forever grateful that I chose Notre Dame for my high school experience. My teachers always pushed me to be the best that I could be, even when I was not the most confident in my work. Whether it was coming in early to help me review for a test I had that day, or staying after school when I needed to work on a project, the teachers at Notre Dame always made sure I had the space to do that. I have also met some of my favorite people at Notre Dame. My friends have made my high school experience the best it could have been. I can always count on them for endless laughs or homework help and I know they feel the same way. I know that even though I am leaving Notre Dame, the connections I have established will last a lifetime. Going to a college that was founded on Jesuit beliefs ensures me that I will continue to be surrounded by people who share my values. Receiving a near full scholarship from Boston College will allow me to continue to have educational opportunities, including the opportunity to travel more and step out of my comfort zone.
Leyla Heredia ’20, Washington University in St. Louis: Thinking about my time at Notre Dame, I cannot help but go back to when I was an eighth-grader in middle school trying to figure out where I would be in the next four years. I will never forget Admissions Director Mr. Grote coming in and talking to the girls about the family that is Chez Nous. He explained to us that school should be your second home, not just a place to attend classes, but a place to make memories, to find yourself, to give back, and to have amazing experiences. At that moment, I knew that ND would be my second family and the place that would eventually send me off to Washington University in St. Louis. In my search for colleges, I was trying to find a place that mimicked what I have grown to love about Notre Dame. I searched for a school where the teachers would recognize me and know my story and goals; the environment would allow me to try new activities; and the campus would be filled with people who love learning to better our society. I am so grateful for the opportunities that Notre Dame bestowed upon me and I cannot wait to represent ND at Washington University in St. Louis, and welcome more of our girls to the university in the future.
Suzan Juncaj ’20, Fordham University: Four years ago, I was not prepared for the unique and life-changing experience I had ahead of me at Notre Dame. It was within the walls of ND where I truly grew into the young adult I am today. I figured myself out alongside my peers, and found family in friends and even teachers. I am proud to have found people quite like me, but yet, so different. I know I have built long-lasting relationships with my peers and my teachers. The faculty and staff have shown light on my intelligence and my worth as a student. Notre Dame has helped me pave a clear direction and path for my future. Without the help and guidance of my counselors, teachers, and even my peers, I would not be where I am now. It is truly unique how much the Notre Dame community focuses on giving a helping hand to everyone in our school. I started my senior year not sure of how to even apply to schools. However, I am more than ready for the next four years, because Notre Dame has prepared me for this moment. With support of the ND counselors, I will be attending Fordham University on a near full scholarship.
Bria Leflore ’20, Binghamton University: My time at ND has flown by so quickly. During my time at ND, I created amazing bonds with so many girls. I felt I was in a real sisterhood. Friends slowly became family, and teachers became friends. Yet, there was one person who truly took my high school career to the next level. During my junior year, my counselor Ms. Savino taught me all about the long college process and prepared me for the application process. As senior year approached, Ms. Savino mentioned all the scholarship opportunities I could potentially receive. She guided me and slowly built up my confidence as the process continued. She taught me to be extremely organized with dates and time frames. Once I received my first acceptance, I instantly felt my hard work had paid off. College acceptances then began to roll in and I was ecstatic. Scholarships came along as well, and Ms. Savino was there to help me find a perfect match. I made the decision to spend my next four years at Binghamton University where I will attend on a near full scholarship majoring in political science.
Danica Mercado ’20, University of Michigan: My time at Notre Dame has empowered me to become a better leader by strengthening my confidence, cultivating my passions, and challenging the way I see the world. This school has supplied me with connections I never would have gained if I had not attended. The endless guidance, support, and reassurance from my peers, teachers, and counselors motivated me to aim higher than what was required. Using everything I have learned at this school, I will make sure to bring all the lessons, experiences, and memories to The University of Michigan where I plan to major in Political Science. I am very fortunate to have received a very good scholarship. I was also accepted to the Michigan Community Scholars Program, a special academic and mentorship organization. I will forever be grateful to the teachers and mentors who did everything in their power to help me succeed. They have inspired me to take the world by storm and be a catalyst for change in my community and for others.
Vanessa Obi ’20, Johns Hopkins University: I knew Notre Dame was the place for me when I met other girls at orientation and during the first few weeks of school. The juniors and seniors, teachers, and faculty were eager to help me whenever I was lost or had a question, and I soon found myself doing the same for others. At Notre Dame, I was given the opportunity to flourish academically and socially. I joined a multitude of clubs and activities, and even became secretary of the National Honor Society! Four years ago, I walked into this school as a shy girl who was not sure of her future, and now I am graduating as a well-rounded, confident woman who knows she will achieve amazing things. I have made lifelong friends, and met wonderful teachers and counselors who encouraged me to pursue my biggest dreams. During the college process, Notre Dame gave me the support I needed to make it through until the end. I am proud to say that I will be attending Johns Hopkins University on a full scholarship, and will be majoring in molecular and cellular biology. Without my own determination and the help of the ND community in my life, I doubt I would have been able to obtain such an amazing achievement.
Maeve Shanks ’20, Catholic University of America: Looking back on my time at Notre Dame, I think of all the opportunities that were offered to me. Being a part of the “Encuentro Project”, where I was able to learn about the issues pertaining to immigration first at the border of the United States and Mexico was monumental. I was particularly transformed by the faces I saw in the refugee house where I volunteered. This opportunity, one of many at ND, allowed for growth and experience that has brought me to where I am now. I have learned to stand up for what I believe in, to do what is right – not because I have to but because I want to – and to care for others. I formed a family at Notre Dame, one that supports me and my aspirations. I am proud to say that because of the many opportunities ND provided, I will be attending the Catholic University of America on a full scholarship to study nursing. Notre Dame helped me achieve this goal, and my ND experiences will continue to guide me through my college career and beyond. For that, I am eternally grateful.