Lesly Ortiz, a senior at Crystal Lake Central High School, was selected as one of 500 Dell Scholars nationwide. As part of the Dell Scholars program, Ortiz will receive a $20,000 scholarship along with several non-monetary supports as she pursues a college education. She was selected out of over 10,000 applicants.
The Dell Scholars program is designed to provide financial assistance and multifaceted support to highly motivated students as they earn a degree. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in a college readiness program, such as the AVID® program at Crystal Lake Central. In addition to her financial scholarship, Ortiz will receive academic and emotional support, a laptop, funds to purchase textbooks, a teletherapy service that connects students to professional counseling, and access to a Scholars Resource Network to help students and their families manage debt, stress, and other challenges.
Ortiz began applying for the scholarship in November 2020 and was selected as a semifinalist in December. She submitted three short essays describing her involvement in and out of school and how the scholarship would help her.
“I was on the applicant portal waiting for my finalist decision, and when it turned midnight I refreshed the page and was in shock when I read the congratulations letter. As soon as I found out, I ran to celebrate with my mom and shared the news with the rest of my family,” said Ortiz.
At Crystal Lake Central, Ortiz is enrolled in the AVID® program, which prepares academically achieving, low-income students for college. She is also involved in the senior mentor program, tutors other AVID® students, and volunteers with the Crystal Lake Service League.
“I cannot think of another student more deserving to be honored as a Dell Scholar than Lesly. Lesly has taken full advantage of every opportunity presented to her at CLC, especially through her participation in our AVID® and AP® programs, earning a 4.0 GPA all four years of high school. Being a first-generation college student in her family, she represents this future endeavor with pride, grace, impeccable work ethic, and humility,” said Shannon Levitt, an AVID® and English teacher at Crystal Lake Central.
Ortiz credits her AVID® classes with helping her establish a growth mindset that has taught her to look at failure as an opportunity to grow.
“Winning the Dell Scholarship has helped me become more confident in my path to transitioning to and paying for college. I have always wanted to become a teacher, so I plan on going into secondary education as well as starting or working with a non-profit organization for children one day,” said Ortiz.