Plainfield East High School graduate Joshua Kayiwa earned a four-year full-ride scholarship to Vanderbilt University through the national QuestBridge Scholarship program.
Kayiwa is the first PEHS student to receive a QuestBridge scholarship. He is among 918 students to earn a scholarship to one of 40 partner colleges nationwide. Kayiwa graduated Saturday, May 19, 2018, and plans to study economics.
“When I found out I was a finalist I was ecstatic, I cried a little bit,” said Kayiwa, who would like to be an entrepreneur.
The nonprofit program offers scholarships to talented students from families who might not be able to afford to send their child to college due to financial hardships.
Kayiwa’s mother recently battled cancer, which put a financial and emotional strain on his family, he said.
His mother, Jennifer Favour, lives out of state and does not see her son as much as she would like, she said.
“I am so, so happy he actually got this scholarship,” Favor said. “He will do very well.”
The 18-year-old had to write two essays, answer questions and get two letters of recommendations from teachers in his core academic subjects to apply.
Kayiwa also had to have at least a 3.87 grade point average and participated in some extracurricular activities.
Kayiwa participated in Student Council, National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), the Bengal Athletic Leadership Club, and ran cross-country and track throughout his four years at PEHS.
Applying for the scholarship took a lot of hard work and diligence, Kayiwa said. “I have two parents who encouraged me, and I have a strong relationship with God. I am privileged to be part of this group of scholars,” he said.
More than 15,600 students applied for a QuestBridge scholarship.
The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, room and board for four years.
PEHS Principal Dr. Joe O’Brien said Kayiwa is very deserving of the scholarship and is a beloved member of the Bengal community.
“Josh’s Plainfield East family is extremely proud of him, his accomplishments and we look forward to the many more successes he will encounter.”