Sam Glover is the captain of the Vernon Hills High School lacrosse team, as well as a member of the soccer team, robotics, academic bowl, drum line, pep band, wind ensemble and National Honor Society.
He earned a 36 on his ACT, and was looking forward to graduating from VHHS next year and majoring in engineering.
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Until a postcard arrived in the mail.
As one would imagine, Glover's perfect ACT score has generated a lot of mail from prospective colleges to his home address. But it was a postcard from United World Colleges that caught Glover's eye.
It promoted study abroad and international perspective. The only catch: there were only two weeks remaining until the application deadline for this highly selective program.
With the help of school counselor Becki Bellito, he was able to pull together the documents, application, and recommendation letters required to apply.
Glover was among 50 students accepted to the program.
Being named a Davis Scholar, Glover's cost for the $40,000 two-year program will be paid for by scholarship.
The UWC was founded in 1962 with the vision of bringing together young people whose experience was of the political conflict of the Cold War era, offering an educational experience based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding so the students would act as champions of peace.
They remain committed to this goal today but have expanded their reach to embrace the tensions and conflicts that exist within and between societies.
The 12 UWC schools and colleges offer two years of pre-university education, and welcome students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.
Glover will attend the UWC-USA school, founded in 1982 by the late Dr. Armand Hammer on the site of the historic Montezuma Castle near Las Vegas, New Mexico.
Glover will leave for the two-year program in August, and will only return home for winter and summer breaks.
As a first-year student, he will room with a second-year student from abroad. And while he will miss the events of his senior year at Vernon Hills High, he knows he is headed for a life-changing experience.
"UWC is a place that changes you," Glover said. "And I'm looking forward to the transformation process."