D203 Senior Surprised with $40K Scholarship on Good Morning America

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photo courtesy: GMA

A Big Surprise

Naperville North High School senior, Vivek Ily, was in for a surprise during a live segment of Good Morning America on March 31. The College Board surprised 25 class of 2021 students from all over the nation, including Ily, with the announcement they had each won $40,000 for the Complete Your Journey Opportunity Scholarship.

“Originally they had told us that  we were going to be live to explain how college applications were during the pandemic and how that affected how things were working. So that was the impression I was under. I thought there was no way I was going to get this out of all the thousands of applicants in the entire country. So I had kind of forgotten about the scholarship because I did not expect I was going to get it,” said Ily. “And then when they announced that we won the scholarship, at first I was completely confused. I was thinking, what is going on? Is this even real? What is happening?”

The scholarship application includes six steps in order for applicants to be considered. These include build your college list, practice for the SAT, explore scholarships, strengthen your college list, complete the FAFSA, and apply to colleges.

Naperville School District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said Ily’s accomplishment showcases the district’s mission.

“Naperville 203 congratulates Vivek Ily on this incredible honor,” said Bridges in a press release. “Vivek exemplifies our mission of self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers, and community contributors. We are so proud of his achievements and this scholarship will help make his college dreams a reality.”

photo courtesy: Naperville 203

Ily’s Future Plans

The 18-year-old plans to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago Honors College to study neuroscience in the fall of 2021.

“It obviously will definitely help me with paying my tuition fees and housing costs. But I think more than the fees or the money aspect of it, I think this has given me motivation,” said Ily. “It has given me the sense that I can actually achieve big things and I think that’ll push me to study as hard as I can and try to achieve as big things as I can.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.