Dylan Chidick, a student at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, is making headlines after being accepted into 17 colleges.
“My family went through a lot and there has been a lot of people saying, ‘you can’t do that,’ or ‘you’re not going to achieve this,’ and me – getting these acceptances – kind of verifies what I have been saying. I can do it and I will do it,” Chidick told CBS New York.
His journey toward academic excellence wasn’t an easy one.
The 17-year-old’s family migrated to the United States from Trinidad when he was 7. His younger twin brothers have serious heart conditions and have undergone surgeries.
Chidick’s family, headed by a single mother, Khadine Phillip, has had other struggles. “It’s been hard financially, we have been homeless,” she told the media outlet.
After watching his mom get assistance from the nonprofit Women Rising, Chidick said he was inspired to excel and bring his family along with him. “Making herself vulnerable and putting herself out there, that made me determined to never let us get back in that situation again.”
Women Rising Executive Director Roseann Mazzeo revealed the center provided Chidick’s family permanent housing and praised Phillip for her commitment to her family. “She is a great example in doing everything necessary to help her children,” Mazzeo said to CBS New York.
Chidick, the first person in his family to attend college, revealed he’s anxiously anticipating one more acceptance letter: “The College of New Jersey. I haven’t heard back yet, but that is my top school right now.”
The honor society inductee plans to study political science in college.