President Barack Obama's much-talked about back-to-school speech yesterday (Sept. 8) highlighted more than importance of hard work and good grades. During the address, President Obama referenced three students who have overcome great odds in an effort to get a better education. But who are Shantelle Steve, Andoni Shultz and Jazmin Perez, really? BET.com takes a look who these three students are and why Obama singled them out.
Born in Chicago, Julian High School senior Shantelle Steve grew up in foster homes in some of the city's tough neighborhoods. Steve, who recently turned 18 Friday has a 3.6 grade-point average and is ranked 23rd out of more than 400 students at Julian. She also works with young kids to keep them out of gangs, is an intern at Rush University Medical Center and is college bound with hopes of attending either the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the University of San Diego. Steve hopes to become an oncologist.
Eighteen-year-old Los Altos, California native Andoni Schultz has been battling brain cancer since she was three. During his speech, Obama said surgery to remove tumors have affected Schultz's memory, but it didn't stop him from graduating with his class at Cupertino, California's Homestead High School. He currently attends Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont, California, where he plans to study math and one day become an accountant.
Jazmin Perez, a 22-year-old graduate school student from Roma, Texas, didn't speak English when she started school and neither of her parents went to college, but she worked hard at Roma High School and earned a scholarship to Brown University, where she graduated with a degree in human biology and education studies. Perez is now pursuing her Master’s in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Steve, Schultz and Perez are just a few of many students who have overcome their own trials and tribulations to achieve more.