Emely

EMELY  has always loved to draw, and is determined to make a career as an artist. "But," she wrote in one of our essays, "by far, choosing to pursue art has been the toughest choice I've had to make. I always believed the phrase 'Follow your dreams' came from a place of privilege. My family went from one homeless shelter to another constantly." She refers to this period as "a monotonous journey of adversity and solitude."

Emely's participation in a group called Summer Search helped her find her way. She attended a program at the Putney School in Vermont, where she recalls sitting around a campfire with other artists and learning that art "was more than a childish hobby, it was a haven. You did not need money to create it, nor to appreciate it. I met people whose art helped them overcome things like depression or made autism less confining. Like me, art made life for hundreds of people not only bearable, but beautiful."

In a recommendation letter, one of Emely's teachers took note of her academic achievements — she will graduate second in a class of 120 at University Heights High School in the Bronx — and of her family's  devotion to education. "She has been raised," the teacher wrote, " by a single mom who knows very little English but wants the best for her two daughters." Emely's teacher also notes that she is "a strong writer, likes to play piano and a gifted artist with strong time-management and critical-thinking skills."

Emely describes her college choice as "the closest to perfect that I found." She will attend the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.