PMSA Senior’s Success in Classroom Leads to Acceptance to Ivy League School
March 18, 2016 01:57 PM
Marquan Jones said that his time at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy has helped to provide a way to succeed.
Thanks to an "A" grade point average and a slew of extracurricular activities including organizing the annual Black History Program at PMSA in February and playing sports at Proviso East High School, Marquan was accepted to Cornell University, an Ivy League school in Ithaca, New York, that is among the most selective in the United States.
"If I got into Cornell, I could compete against the best people in the world," Marquan said. "This is happening and I have to do everything I can to get there and to stay there."
Getting to this point was not an easy road for him, at least at first, he said. Coming out of Irving Elementary School in Maywood, where he had been at the top of his class, he struggled to adjust to the rigor of PMSA. However, he said that he did give up, and used the resources available to bring himself back to the top.
"From my freshman year I learned how to cope with things," Marquan said. "I learned how to study. I learned how to ask for help (got tutoring). Now, I’m used to the environment and I’ve coped with whole PMSA lifestyle."
That included increasing the amount of activities on his schedule. From his freshman year, he commuted to Proviso East for football, basketball, and track. At PMSA, he has been active in drama, debate club, and multicultural club. In addition, he has remained active in the community, mentoring students at his former elementary school as well as volunteering at a community center in Maywood.
Marquan’s work has had its rewards besides being accepted into Cornell. Prior to Proviso East’s December 28 game against Morgan Park at the Proviso West Holiday Basketball Tournament, he was recognized before the large crowd with Mrs. Theresa Kelly, president of the District 209 Board of Education, and Dr. Patrick Hardy, principal at Proviso East. On January 18, he was named a winner of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest at the Hillside Human Resources Commission’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that Marquan is an example of the high quality of the students at PMSA.
"Marquan epitomizes the high level of quality and performance that students at PMSA are exposed to daily," she said. "We are so proud of his accomplishments and expect to see and hear great things from him in the future."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that she is proud of Marquan.
"He is to be commended for his effort and his accomplishments, and I congratulate him," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "We are all proud of Marquan, and I wish him well in all of his future endeavors."
Where those future endeavors take place may depend on whether Marquan and his supporters can find the funding to attend Cornel. Marquan said that Cornell is the number one school in the country for studying food science, his intended major. He said that he wants to learn about proper nutrition and later law to help promote the fight against world hunger.
"I want to attain the knowledge and stay healthy and promote staying healthy to my peers," he said. "It’s kind of like a wildfire. I was already doing these things. Now that I have this Cornell thing as a platform, people are opening their eyes to my story. Getting the recognition is a blessing. I feel like I am able to touch the people in my neighborhood. They look at me as maybe a hope in Maywood."