SCHOOLS, STUDENTS | June 10, 2020
A Soon-To-Be Taft Graduate with a Mission to Amplify the Voices of His Peers
As his time as a CPS student comes to a close, Taft High School senior Tri Ho has thought a lot about how far he’s come since he was an English Learner at Garvy Elementary School on the Northwest Side. He describes his time in CPS, particularly in high school, as transformative. He entered Taft with fears about navigating the complexities of high school on his own; he leaves Taft as the co-founder of the school’s Student Voice Committee and Chicago’s representative on the Illinois State Board of Education Student Advisory Council. Discovering his passion for social justice has been key in helping him grow as a student and a leader.
“Looking back from where I was in elementary school to now, I’ve learned so much about myself and the world surrounding me,” said Tri. “Second-grade me would have never imagined getting so involved in social justice.”
This fall, Tri will be leaving Chicago to attend Yale University. Having developed into one of Taft’s most visible student advocates, he’s already determined to continue his activism in college. Inside the classroom, he wants to take coursework focused on education studies, political science, and economics. Outside of the classroom, he has a particular interest in getting directly involved with organizations working to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Eventually, he hopes to go to law school. While he’ll be moving on from his leadership role on Taft’s Student Voice Committee, he hopes future students take advantage of the opportunity to have their opinions heard.
“While leading the Student Voice Committee, I definitely learned about the challenges you face when voicing your concerns,” said Tri. “I hope Taft will allow students to voice their opinions more by having them take charge of various projects and allow them safe spaces to speak their mind.”
Tri thinks that high school should be a place where students feel unafraid to “go for it.” For example, while he initially had hesitations about pursuing Taft’s IB program, Tri quickly found that passionate teachers, collaborative peers, and interesting content areas made the extra rigor more than worth it. He says he is leaving high school having learned lessons about time management and perseverance and having enjoyed basically every subject.
“The IB program was not in my comfort zone at all, so I would definitely tell my freshman year self to not be afraid to try new things,” said Tri. “I would encourage incoming freshmen to step out of their comfort zones, not just academically, but also by joining extracurriculars that matter to them.”
Though Tri considers himself transformed by CPS, it’s clear that his commitment to social justice has transformed many of his peers as well. His counselor, Ms. Camie LaPorte, calls him one of the most outstanding people she has ever worked with.
“I learn just as much, if not more, from Tri than I could ever offer to him,” said Ms. LaPorte. “He’s just remarkable, and he inspires his peers without even trying.”