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Promise Scholar

Carly Wheaton – Loy Norrix ‘08

In the spirit of honesty I should admit that I had always planned to go to college and assumed that my parents and I would "just figure it out" when it came time to pay the first tuition bill.  When the Kalamazoo Promise was announced my sophomore year at Loy Norrix, I remember clearly the moments spent speechless, just trying to absorb the incredible blessing that solidified my future as a university graduate.

Whatever expectations I had for college at that time, looking back now, knowing all that I have become because of The Promise, I can fully grasp the enormity of this great gift. I study neuroscience and biochemistry at the University of Michigan and have spent the last 3 years feeling grateful that I have no financial burden weighing on my mind while studying for finals and writing essays; the Promise has alleviated all of that.  Further, I have watched friends struggle to focus on their courses while they manage the part-time jobs that fund them, knowing all along that I was one school district away from being in the same situation. 

In the summers I work for a non-profit organization that has sparked my passion for mission work, taught me countless lessons about myself, and opened my eyes to see the world in new ways.  If I had been worried about finances I may not have been able to accept that job and would have had to settle for a boring but higher-paying job that didn't make me come alive. Moreover, I write this reflection from my desk in a house in Sydney, Australia, where I am studying abroad for the semester, funded by the Kalamazoo Promise.  The international tuition alone would have meant taking on more than one of those part-time jobs, but with the Promise taking care of that, I have been free to push my own boundaries and experiment with complete independence while exploring a brand new country.  It is obvious to me now that not only did the Promise pay for my classes, but it has provided me with a university atmosphere where I am able to thrive and excel.  I'm not sure where or what I would be without the help of those anonymous donors, but I am eternally grateful I will never have to know.

Carly Wheaton
University of Michigan ~ Ann Arbor
College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Neuroscience ~ Class of 2012