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From A Dark Past, A Bright Future Emerges:
Bridgeport Student Overcomes Challenges
by Evan Monroe

He also volunteered as an umpire for Little League baseball and as an assistant coach for an Upward Bound basketball program throughout high school. He also worked part time at CVS.

By his junior year of high school he had earned a 3.4 GPA and was just starting to apply to college. The magnet program paid for up to seven college applications, so he applied to seven colleges. He was accepted by all of them and narrowed his choices to two; the University of Florida and UConn.

"I was the only guy in the house for like 17 years and going to Florida would've been hard for my family," Santos said, explaining his decision to go to UConn. After he sent his letter of intent to UConn, he began searching for ways to pay for college.

His mother told him to go to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website and apply for a variety scholarships. When he got news that he was accepted for two $10,000 scholarships, a $3,000 scholarship and a $2,500 scholarship, it was final. Santos was going to be the second person in his family to go to college. His older cousin, who walso went to UConn, was the first. The only out of pocket expenses are his books, which his uncle pays for every year.

Santos is now a successful, ambitious 20-year-old UConn junior. And although he grew up in poverty and in an area deep-rooted in drugs and violence, his mother says none of that matters.

"It doesn't make a difference where you're born and raised," she says. "It's how you raise your kids. I don't want to sound cocky but the biggest reason Victor is successful is because of his mother his parenting has given him good morals, and if I didn't, who knows where Victor would be today."

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Evan Monroe is a junior majoring in journalism. This article was written for Journalism 212W, taught by Instructor Terese Karmel.