A recent alumna of Proviso East High School spent her summer studying in Rome.
Dinishia Wolford, the valedictorian of the Class of 2009 at Proviso East, is now 22 and a psychology major at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She spent five weeks this summer (June 27 to August 3) studying at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, learning about the culture and taking advantage of the opportunity to spend extended time in another country.
"It was the fact that you have to deal with so many things," Ms. Wolford said when asked what stood out about her time in Rome. "You have to deal with people from all walks of life.
Dinishia first got a taste of going abroad when she was 15 years old and a student at Proviso East. As part of the Upward Bound Program through Triton College, she travelled to London. That gave her the urge to see more of the world.
"I knew I wanted to do it again," she said.
Four years later, she travelled to Toronto, Canada, for a conference for an engineering group in which she was involved, and she also included a trip to the Bahamas on her own for her 21st birthday last year.
The idea of studying in Rome, however, came from her mother, Mrs. Penny Williams-Wolford, who suggested that she study abroad before graduating from college. Dinishia Wolford attended a study abroad fair at Marquette in February, and decided on Rome over London.
"It was a new place," she said. "They had most of the classes I wanted.
Dinishia lived in an apartment-style dormitory at the John Cabot University with roommates from Wisconsin, California, and Ecuador. She said that she adjusted to differences in the culture, such as having no screens on doors and that one does not tip in restaurants. She visited other parts of Italy such as Venice, taking in the sights and learning about the history and culture.
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said Ms. Wolford is an example of a student who has taken her education from high school and continued to expand it in college, with a desire to learn more.
"Dinishia has been an exemplary student for a long time," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "Being able to see the world only adds to the educational experience, and it is something that I hope all of our students aspire to do at some point in their education. I am grateful that she came back to share her experiences with us and to motivate our current students. She was a role model when she was in school and she continues to be a role model and give back."
Ms. Wolford said that she is scheduled to graduate from Marquette in December. Whatever she does afterward, she said that her time in Rome was worth it.
"I would do it all over again," she said. "I’d recommend it to anybody.