UPenn Freshman and Author, I’deyah

University of Pennsylvania freshman I’deyah was interviewed this past summer on ABC 7’s Chicago Graduation 2020 Special “The After Party.” Watch her full interview here.

I’deyah has long used her talents to inspire other kids. At just seven years old, she published her first book to help budding authors find their voices through writing. “I just loved writing, and I decided to take all of my ideas to paper,” she says. Over the next ten years, I’deyah kept moving forward. Writing two additional books was just the start. She joined High Jump’s 26th cohort at the Parker Campus after hearing about the program from her mother.

“I chose to join High Jump because I heard that it could better me academically and expose me to schools around Chicago. Through High Jump, I knew that I would also develop another family/support system to aid me in my upcoming years.”

High Jump helped I’deyah decide to attend the Latin School of Chicago for high school. “My first choice was Jones College Prep because at the time, I was not exposed to independent schools, which limited my outlook on high schools. Yet by attending High Jump, they opened my eyes and I ended up applying for Latin School of Chicago, where I fell in love with the school and curriculum. I was then stuck in a hard spot of picking between Jones and Latin, yet I feel I made the right decision and couldn’t be happier with my choice.”

At Latin, I’deyah got involved in dance, softball, and the school newspaper. She graduated in 2020, although her graduation year didn’t go quite as she expected. In March, she had several college visits planned. “All of that has gone out the window,” she says. “Everything was postponed.” But she didn’t let restrictions on in-person interaction slow her down. This past summer, I’deyah returned to High Jump as an online teacher’s assistant and a Writer’s Workshop assistant to support younger students in the program. She felt that her writing assistance was particularly important, as many students don’t have writing classes in their home schools.

This fall, I’deyah began attending the University of Pennsylvania as a Health & Societies major on the pre-med track. The skills she developed at High Jump helped her succeed in high school and will continue to benefit her in college. “I noticed that I became more focused and developed better time management skills [at High Jump]. Due to my commitment with High Jump, my workload increased, and I found myself working to fight my stress and stay focused with my work. Therefore, I became a better student overall.”

For a behind-the-scenes look at what High Jump students experience, check out this video from ABC 7. You can help High Jump give more students like I’deyah opportunities to learn and achieve more; as I’deyah says, “By strengthening the High Jump program, you’re strengthening the lives of these kids.”

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