When Jessica Teliz graduated from Mother McAuley High School, she wasn’t exactly sure what career path she wanted to take and wanted to find a college where she could explore her options while not breaking the bank. She decided to follow in her aunt’s footsteps and attend Harold Washington College, where she knew students would have “countless opportunities.”

Once she started classes, the Ashburn neighborhood resident took advantage of all the college has to offer as the head Student Ambassador, public relations officer for the United Nations Association, president of the Unity Club, and an all-around active member of the HWC community. Jessica puts her best effort in everything she does, which is likely why she became Harold Washington College’s 2019 salutatorian. Still, she credits more than her unyielding spirit for her success.

“My student ambassador bosses, [Associate Dean of Student Services] Patricia Cuevas and [Coordinator of Tutor Support Services] Veronica Barrios, were really great,” she said. “They’re always very supportive. They’re like family to me.”

Like many other students, Jessica is graduating from Harold Washington College with an intent to transfer and fulfill her dream. After commencement, she plans to attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale and study biology and zoology. Eventually, she wants to conduct research and rescue aquatic animals.

Although she has her sights on the future, Jessica is grateful for her past time at City Colleges and has some good advice for those following in her footsteps.

“Make sure you’re on the right path,” she said. “College is very stressful. Talk to the right people; be around the right people. Use any services you can, including other students, and ask questions. Know that this journey is all about you.”

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