First Generation College Student, Lands Scholarship, Talks IB
STUDENTS | August 21, 2018
First Generation College Student, Lands Scholarship, Talks IB

With a full tuition scholarship and an example to set for his six younger siblings, Christian Bradford says he’s ready to step onto Depauw University’s campus this fall.

He’ll be the first in his family to go to college.

The Morgan Park graduate credits his school’s IB Programme for preparing him. In fact, he chose the high school because of it.


“I heard about the IB Program at Morgan Park, and that’s what made me really want to go there,” says Bradford. “I knew the rigorous course load would help me excel and I’d be able to make an impact.”

During Bradford’s first two years, he balanced honor classes, while playing tennis and running track. He was a Student Council member, later becoming senior class president.

It wasn’t an easy journey, but he says he persevered.

“My junior year was when the IB classes really set in and the amount of work I had to complete increased,” says Bradford, adding that he juggled academics, varsity track and tennis, student council and more.

“I had noticed that my grades started to drop,” he says. “It was hard to balance everything for the first time, and I was making low B’s and C’s. I wasn’t used to that.”

He credits one of his “favorite” teachers, Sara Harton, for helping him get back on track.

“She wouldn’t allow you to slack off, and she helped when you really needed it,” says Bradford, “but she would wait for you to come her way. I went to her.”

By senior year, Bradford was maintaining a solid 4.6 GPA. Attending a four-year university was his dream, but he says he knew without hard work it wouldn’t be possible.

“I knew my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college out of pocket and, without the right funds, it’d be out of the picture,” says Bradford.

The hard work began. Bradford says he began applying for two scholarships a week, each requiring an essay. It was “time consuming, it was tricky,” but when the “congratulations” letters began to roll in, he says he saw the pay off for his hard work and determination. A full-ride scholarship to Depauw and a spot on the track team was the icing on the cake, he adds.

He plans to major in physiology and work toward a career in sports management.

“Both of my parents graduated from high school, but didn’t get the opportunity to attend college,” says Bradford. “I have an older brother, and he didn’t have the chance to attend. All of my hard work was to pave the way for my siblings. It was to show them that it doesn’t matter if our parents couldn’t go. You still can.”

His advice for his siblings and others? “Keep fighting.”

“You’ll have days where you’ll want to give up, but don’t,” Bradford says, “Everything you do, in the beginning, is for yourself. But it can have a greater impact that will affect others if you really work hard at it.”