Once homeless, teen now accepted into 17 colleges
JERSEY CITY, NJ - A teen who was once homeless has reached his ultimate goal of getting accepted into college. Not only did he achieve that milestone, but he did it 17 times.
Dylan Chidick, 17, told Good Morning America now he's sharing his story in hopes he inspires others.
"What you're going through now does not define you," said Chidick, an honor student from New Jersey. "The work that you do now will help you foresee the future and you'll be able to live out your dreams. That's what my mom always told me when we were living in the shelter. She'd say, 'Just keep pushing.'"
Chidick, a senior at Henry Snyder High School, was 7 years old when he moved from Trinidad to the United States and became a citizen a few years later.
In 2017, Dylan's family fell on hard times and became homeless. They lived in a shelter until a New Jersey-based organization placed them into housing.
Chidick said the hardship often got in the way of his grades, but he was determined to be the first in his family to go to college. He brought his average up by enrolling in AP courses and got straight A's this past school year.
"I also opened up to my school because no one knew what I was going through," Chidick explained. "It became easier for me to handle."
Chidick is now student body president, vice president of the National Honor Society, a Jersey City youth ambassador for social services, a city-wide student council member and a student ambassador for his school, where he helps freshman in their transitions.
When it came time to apply for colleges, Chudick had no shortage of options. He was accepted to 17 schools including Quinnipiac University, the University of New England, Rowan University, Caldwell University, the University of New Haven and Siena College.
"The lead here is Dylan's awesomeness," said Anne Miller Christensen, the director of Village of Families at WomenRising’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program. "We supply the one vital ingredient that makes it a little easier and more possible, [but] Dylan probably would've crawled across the finish line and still got it done. He's so deserving of this success."
Chidick said his first-choice school is The College of New Jersey but he has not heard back yet.
"My mom is really happy," he added. "I get home around 5 [p.m.] and she's standing near the mailbox waiting to get the letters. She's excited because we went through a really tough time."
Chidick will graduate high school this June. He hopes to get a law degree and have a career in politics someday.