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Two Central Piedmont Community College students accepted into Ivy League schools for fall 2020

Both Koichi Takara and Christopher St. Hilaire overcame a number of obstacles to reach this milestone in their academic journey.
Credit: Central Piedmont Community College

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two Central Piedmont Community College students have been accepted to Ivy League schools for the fall 2020 semester. 

Both Koichi Takara and Christopher St. Hilaire overcame a number of obstacles to reach this milestone in their academic journey.

Read their journey's below: 

Koichi Takara

After living in Japan for the majority of his childhood, Takara moved to California and graduated from one of their highest-rated public high schools. His résumé was padded with an outstanding SAT score, 4.2 GPA, and an abundance of extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as he was rejected from six of his top seven college choices. To make matters worse, he could not afford the one school that accepted him. As a result, he moved to Huntersville, N.C., and enrolled at Central Piedmont where he flourished. During his time at Central Piedmont, he served as president of the Student Government Association and was an active member of the college’s Rotaract, Phi Theta Kappa chapter, and the NC Scholars of Global Distinction. After graduating from Central Piedmont on May 14, Takara plans to attend Cornell University as a junior on a full-ride equivalent need-based scholarship. He’ll major in Industrial Labor Relations. Says Takara, “coming to Central Piedmont was the best decision of my life.”

Christopher St. Hilaire
St. Hilaire felt isolated in high school and dropped out at just 15 years of age. He later completed his studies, earning his GED from Central Piedmont in 2015. He immediately joined the workforce, working as a server at Ballantyne Country Club. A club member recognized St. Hilaire’s potential and urged him to go back to school. Thankfully, St. Hilaire heeded his friend’s advice and enrolled where he was most familiar: Central Piedmont. Back on campus, St. Hilaire decided to be a part of everything the college community had to offer – Student Government Association, Rotaract, Model UN and Phi Theta Kappa. He excelled at Central Piedmont, and will graduate this week with an Associate (Transfer) Degree. This fall, St. Hilaire will move to New Jersey, where he will study philosophy at Princeton University on a full scholarship as one of only 13 community college students in the country to be admitted to the Ivy League school for the fall term. “Central Piedmont welcomed me back with open arms and getting involved in its many Student Life and leadership activities made it all worthwhile,” says St. Hilaire.

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