Corey Hardiman, 19, who graduated in June from George Henry Corliss High School, said he had to avoid trouble in and near his Roseland community in order to excel academically.
Corey Hardiman, 19, who graduated in June from George Henry Corliss High School, said he had to avoid trouble in and near his Roseland community in order to excel academically. “Sometimes trouble finds its way to you one way or another. That is why I am glad to be away (at college),” Hardiman explained. “I want to someday return to Chicago and become mayor. That is my ambition and that is what I plan to do.” Hardiman, who recently started his studies as a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta, is one of 20 Chicago Public Schools students to become a Gates Millennium Scholar. The prestigious scholarship pays for recipients’ studies through post-graduate school. The scholarship not only pays all expenses until Hardiman earns a bachelor’s degree but it will also pay for him to receive master’s and doctorate degrees should he decide to pursue one. To keep his scholarship Hardiman must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Hardiman’s interest in politics was heightened after working as an election judge during the November 2008 election when former U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, was elected the nation’s first Black president. “I remember this 81-year-old woman who came into the polling place talking about how she never leaves her house but left this time to vote for history,” Hardiman recalled. “That really inspired me.” The teen is the first in his family to attend college. His father is serving a federal prison sentence in Indiana for selling drugs. “I love my dad despite the mistake he made,” said Hardiman. Just three weeks ago Hardiman drove alone to see his father for the last time before going to college. He showed him his final report card, something he had routinely mailed to him each quarter. By doing so, Hardiman said it inspired his father to earn his GED while incarcerated. At an Aug. 11 education breakfast with Black clergy leaders, both Mayor Richard M. Daley and Ron Huberman, chief executive officer for CPS, praised Hardiman for his accomplishments thus far. “He is a good, young man who will go far in life as long as he continues his education,” Daley said. “He will be a fine representation of Chicago at Morehouse College.” Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender