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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Going to college part III: Elsa Lazo heads to Georgetown!

During the six weeks leading up to the fall DC SCORES season, we are highlighting former program participants who are enrolling in college. These young adults found many of their interests through their time in our Arts/Athletics/Academics model and have used the lessons learned through their teams to earn scholarships to continue their education.

This week we focus on Elsa Lazo, a graduate of Bell Multicultural High School heading to Georgetown University on a full academic scholarship. 


Elsa (right) with friend Tatiana Galeas
at summer camp in 2009.
When Elsa Lazo received a letter in the mail from Georgetown University in late March, she became extremely nervous.

"I was scared to open up the letter because it was in a small envelope," said Lazo, referring to the theory that acceptance letters usually come in big envelopes. "I was about to go to a soccer game. I decided to open it.

"I saw the words, 'We have the pleasure to accept you into Georgetown.' I started shaking and tears came out. ... Mom gave me a big hug."

Lazo then went to her soccer game, where “I was like full energy!” she said.

And rightfully so. Lazo graduated from Bell Multicultural High School in June after participating in DC SCORES at Lincoln Middle School and received a full academic scholarship to attend the college at the top of her list.

Lazo began at Georgetown last week, where she's interested in studying business and management. One day in the future, she said last week, she wants to make a difference in children's lives similar to her experience with DC SCORES and SportsChallenge Leadership Academy.

"I want to create my own organization like DC SCORES to help students not only enhance their soccer skills but leadership too," Lazo said.

When Lazo joined the DC SCORES team at Lincoln, she was a shy sixth-grader unsure of herself. Through playing soccer and needing to communicate with teammates on the field, she became more outgoing and confident in speaking out.

Lazo became a leader and developed dozens of friendships -- "A LOT of them," she said — that she maintains as she enters this new, exciting phase of her life.

"When I first started (DC SCORES), I just saw (soccer) as a hobby," Lazo said. "I saw the change within me from the first year to high school. It wasn’t just a sport that I was playing; I had made connections."

Now, Lazo hopes to try out for the club women's soccer team at Georgetown and continue to play the sport she came to love for many reasons while at Lincoln.

"I didn’t know that I would enjoy soccer so much," Lazo said. "It turned into something that I really like."

Lazo is beginning college with an open mind, not set on a major or extracurriculars — besides, of course, trying out for the club team. When she thinks back on her experience with DC SCORES, she sums it up succinctly: "It’s a life-opening experience. It opened new doors."

Now, she's excited and ready to step through new doors, whatever they may be, and take advantage of other opportunities.

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