At age 13, Jonathan Connolly was not sure the present changes in his life were for the best. Now reflecting on his move from Detroit, Mich. to Wilmette, Ill. in middle school, he recognizes it as one of the things that enabled him to pursue a college education. The difference in school systems between Detroit and Wilmette was enough to push Connolly to strive for better and to aim for higher education. The change was not smooth or easy for him initially, with being in a new city and a new school, but he’s since learned to appreciate the move despite having no say in it back in the day.
Connolly currently attends Columbia College Chicago and remembers his move from several years back very vividly in sixth grade. Located about 45 minutes outside of the downtown Chicago area, Connolly and his family moved to Wilmette, Ill. where he describes that he can “see Chicago” from his home, but is still somewhat of a long drive away. He transferred to High Crest Middle School and explains “I’d always get in trouble for talking, saying stuff I shouldn’t.”
He recalls facing some teasing from his young classmates at the time, citing that he was considered to be one of the smaller kids in the class. “A lot of the kids didn't like me and I didn't like them, but that only lasted like a grade or two,” he says, adding “I never had like, intense bullying or anything like that.” He elaborates, explaining that by the time he moved on a year or two in his schooling, the teasing from others stopped, because “there were other smaller kids to pick on,” by then.
Moving on with his education, Connolly didn’t quite understand the impact his move from Detroit had on him until he began to apply for college in his senior year of high school. “The faculty at the Detroit Public School system was not as one on one engaged...compared to where I moved to” he explains, adding “I definitely needed to be pushed or I would kind of just give up.” He says that he’s especially thankful for the move and the better school system in Wilmette, citing it as motivation, pushing him to work hard which led him to receive an academic scholarship at Columbia College Chicago.