BSSCA Senior Karishma Shares Her Story of Receiving the Posse Scholarship

My name is Karishma Singh.

My high school, Bright Star Secondary, has shaped my dreams and aspirations. The school has guided me into adulthood with support from every member of the school family. I’ve been attending Bright Star Schools since fifth grade, and I’m now a proud senior representing the class of 2015!

On December 2nd, 2014, I received a call that would change my life drastically…I became a Posse Scholar! Posse started in 1989 because of one student who said, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me.” The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential that may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—“posses”—of 10 students. The opportunity is a four year full tuition merit-based scholarship!

My Posse journey started in 2014 during the last semester of my junior year when I was nominated for this scholarship. In August I received an email from The Posse Foundation telling me I was invited to the first round Posse interview. Later that month I walked into a room filled with a hundred seniors competing for the same scholarship as me. They were so enthusiastic! Only fifty students were to be selected from the bunch and I knew I had to stand out. We addressed controversial topics such as our opinions on the death penalty and gay rights. We were challenged to speak to students we’d never met before to see how well we interact with strangers, and to see if we could hold an intellectual conversation with our peers. We built a straw house with one hand behind our backs to see if we work well as a team. We were given a topic and we had to create a skit in five minutes to see if we were able to listen to other people’s opinions. At the end of the interview I walked out confident, but humbled.

A month later, I received an email from the Posse foundation telling me that I made it into the second round of interviews, which made me a semi-finalist. I was thrilled! I couldn’t believe it. In mid-September I arrived at the Posse office in downtown LA ready for my one on one interview. When I was called in to the room I could not stop smiling, I don’t know if it was because I was nervous or because I was extremely happy that I was sitting in front of the person could possibly be my college trainer. Sandy asked me questions about my personal life, academic life, and my plans for the future. I expressed how much this scholarship would help me if I received it and how excited I would be to leave the state for college. At the end of the interview I gave him a huge hug and walked out feeling like I said everything that needed to be said.

I guess I was right because one night I received a call from The Posse Foundation asking ME if I would like to be considered as a finalist for Kalamazoo College. “Me?” I said. I screamed as if I had already received the scholarship. I was to return the phone call in twenty-four hours with my response. That night I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning doing research on Kalamazoo. I felt like an FBI agent…I researched the food, the weather, and the malls. You name it, I searched for it! The next day I went to school crying to Mr. Taylor because I didn’t know what to do. I was just so overwhelmed; this was the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make. He told me, “Karishma, calm down. You’ll be alright. You still need to get accepted!” Later that day I called the Posse office and told them that I accepted their offer and would love to be a finalist for Kalamazoo. I then completed my Kalamazoo application – after I went through about thirty drafts of my personal statement – and then waited for December 2nd to come
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On this day, I prepared myself mentally and spiritually for any outcome. I was dressed so professionally that my nephew asked me if I was a lawyer! I was determined to leave an outstanding impression with the Kalamazoo administrators who flew in to LA for the last Posse interview. I walked in to the same room I did for the first round interview and nineteen other Kalamazoo finalists and I sat in a circle playing games until the administrators and the Posse trainers walked in. The interview began with a human bingo game and somehow I was chosen to sing a song at the end of the game. Throughout the interview we engaged in conversations much like the first round interview and before I knew it the interview was over. Much like the other interviews, I walked out confident. I did not want any negativity to linger in my mind.

“You’ll find out if you were chosen for the scholarship within a week,” Sandy said.
Two hours later I received a call from the Posse office. They asked me how I think the night went and what size Kalamazoo sweater I would like. I screamed so hard everyone ran in to my room to ask me what happened. Tears of joy fell from my eyes and I thanked God for everything! I could not wait to go to school the next morning to share the news with people who actually understood what this meant! I was so happy that I was able to make my parents proud!

Bright Star schools has given me the opportunity to be heard. The reason I was able to stand out in those interviews is because Bright Star made it possible for me to practice those skills at school. I am not afraid to voice my opinion on controversial topics and I am not afraid to be myself because I attend a school where I am free to do both of those things. The Connectors have made it clear that your academic GPA is not the only thing that gets you into college – you must also be a well-rounded individual. This scholarship process proved that statement true!

While studying at Kalamazoo I will be double majoring in English and theater arts, and I plan on traveling to Spain, Italy, South Africa and many more countries during my study abroad sessions. In the future I want to leave behind a legacy; I want to be an inspiration to young women of color letting them know that anything is possible. And most of all, I want to give my parents a huge house back in Belize!

Written by: Karishma Singh, Bright Star Secondary 12th Grade Student

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5 Comments

  • Jacqueline A. Melendez says:

    Congratulations Karishma!!! I love all the plans your have and I wish you the best! Great Job!

    Mrs. Melendez

  • Lorena says:

    Im speechless reading this inspirational story of Karishma singh. She is an exemplary student with goals. She knows that those goals can be reached only with persistence, optimism and discipline. Furthermore, teachers are so helpful on the academic education of all the sharp students at Bright star school who prepare them to be successful for college!

  • Friday Attah says:

    It is wonderful
    I hope Bright Star keep on doing the right thing.

  • Mrs. Averbach says:

    This is inspiring, and I am overwhelmingly proud of you! Thank you for sharing this experience.

  • Corey Taylor says:

    I am extremely proud of my “Bright Star Daughter.” You have made history and I am absolutely certain you will leave behind a long-lasting legacy. We are all very proud of you and wish you nothing but the utmost success. Now, bundle up! The winters are awfully cold…

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