A Cuban-American teen founded the School Bell Blog, a “road map” for low-income, first-generation and immigrant students in Miami-Dade County who wish to attend college.
The School Bell Blog provides inspirational resources and educational information to help local low-income immigrant students improve the skills they need in order to achieve their professional aspirations.
The blog, founded by Rashel Chipi, is a bilingual website that covers a diverse range of subjects, such as preparation for tests like SAT, essential vocabulary lists used commonly in the education system, financial aid resources, academic advising for students, and even training in soft skills like daily planning and time management.
18-year-old Rashel Chipi founded The School Bell Blog in 2019. She was inspired by the lack of information immigrant students and their parents regularly have, not only concerning college but around the complex American education system.
Rashel is a Cuban-American, currently a senior at Coral Reef Senior High School, who faced this dilemma through her family story. “My brother Rafael came from Cuba at the age of 10 and struggled from day one with the American educational system. He didn’t have enough support or even information on how to deal with college-prep challenges,” she said.
It turns out, no one had told him what the SAT was, when he should take it, or how to prepare. By the time he did take it, it was the last test date before applying to colleges and financial aid. His score was impacted, and this ended up affecting the trajectory of his education. She gave her brother credit: “Due to his experience, he has advocated for my education since I was little.”
When Rashel started the pre-college program, she realized that college preparation sites assumed students knew the processes and steps needed to go to college. “However, I found that low-income immigrant students had a hard time accessing valuable resources and had many gaps. These are the gaps I intend to fill in with my blog,” she explained.
Finding out that many of those parents didn’t even speak the language, she realized that not only students but also their families needed guidance in this process of sending their kids to college. In response, Rashel decided to write content in English and Spanish, which in fact strengthened her approach to direct collaboration and ongoing conversation with her peers and their parents.
Her effort to support and advocate for the community is already paying off. Last year she was selected to attend the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) Summer Institute held at Princeton University. The project was also nominated for the Miami Herald Silver Knight Award in the General Scholarship category.
Rachel has just received a scholarship to attend Yale this fall. She will be majoring in History of Science, Medicine and Public Health. As for the blog, she will continue working hard to enrich many immigrant students’ lives not just at a local level but nationwide.
For more information visit www.schoolbell.blog
Haz clic para leer en Español: School Bell Blog, un recurso que prepara estudiantes para la universidad