Plainfield East Senior Earns Full Ride QuestBridge Scholarship to Northwestern

Plainfield East High School senior Jelidiah Gyamfi earned a four-year full-ride scholarship to Northwestern University in Chicago through the national QuestBridge Scholarship program.

She is the second PEHS student to win this scholarship. Joshua Kayiwa earned the same scholarship to Vanderbilt University in 2019.

“I was very excited, screaming, jumping, clapping when I heard I won,” Gyamfi said.

She is among 1,674 students to earn a scholarship to one of 45 partner colleges nationwide.  The nonprofit program offers scholarships to talented students from families who might not be able to afford to send their child to college due to financial hardships.

Gyamfi was born in Japan and lived there until she was 7 years old. Her family moved frequently when she was growing up because her dad was in the military, she said. She lived in Georgia, Maryland, Colorado, and Illinois, Gyamfi said.

Her father turned his career focus from the military to mission work with the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost and moved to Illinois in 2021.

She plans to pursue legal studies with the goal of becoming a human or civil rights attorney.

The 18-year-old had to write two essays, answer questions and get two letters of recommendation from teachers in his core academic subjects to apply. Gyamfi also had to have at least a 3.87 grade point average and participated in extracurricular activities.

The application process was not easy and there were many times she wanted to give up, Gyamfi said. She relied on her support system of faith, family, and friends to get her through, Gyamfi said.

“In those moments of desperation when you think you are alone, reach out to those who support you,” she said. “If you don’t, you will end up talking yourself out of your own miracle,” Gyamfi said.

More than 16,500 students applied for a QuestBridge scholarship. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, room, and board for four years. Christine Belcastro, school counselor, said Gyamfi has a consistent drive to success and the school is proud of her.

“She is beyond respectful, has been a joy to work with, and I look forward to hearing of her future accomplishments,” Belcastro said.

Understatement of the year! Good for you, Jelidiah! Go girl!