Profile of a CCISD Graduate, Part Three

Profile of a CCISD Graduate, Part Three
Posted on 05/21/2021
Isaiah HallIf you ask Isaiah Hall about his first few years in debate, he will tell you a tale of struggle, but also of perseverance. After suffering a knee injury in middle school, Isaiah thought debate could be another way to get involved at Clear Brook High School, instead of continuing in sports.

He admits his freshman year started off rocky.

“Sophomore year I was a little bit better, but also still, not that good,” Isaiah explained. “It was those first two years where I'd really thought about quitting debate. I wasn't doing very well at tournaments and I wasn't advancing.”

Despite some negative thoughts about his performance, Isaiah managed to place in one competition in his sophomore year. Instead of giving up, he did some self-reflection.

“I kind of had to dig deep down and look to myself and see why I'm not doing well in these tournaments,” said Isaiah. “I realized that I wasn't really applying myself within debate.”

To find inspiration, Isaiah thought back to his years participating in football, basketball, and track.

“I was very passionate about those sports and I was always practicing. I was always playing, always working on doing everything I needed to do to progress and get better in those sports,” he said.

Isaiah realized to excel in debate, he needed to channel the same tenacity, teamwork, and determination that helped him win games.

“Being able to use those work ethics of always wanting to be the best and wanting to get better, while also helping the people who maybe aren't as good as me, helped them get to my level,” added Isaiah.

However, he does not want to take all the credit. Isaiah says his mom is the reason he persisted.

“She sacrificed a lot just to make sure I was fed and getting a good education,” Isaiah explained. “Without her guidance and her support, I wouldn't be where I am now.”

Isaiah and his mother were homeless for a period of time when he was in elementary school. Despite financial hardship, she spent many late nights motivating him to study and prepare for debate tournaments.

In his junior year, Isaiah began to place and win awards in competitions. By his senior year, Isaiah qualified for the state tournament and placed in the top 50.

On December 20, 2020, Isaiah’s late-night studying for debate and advanced courses paid off when he was awarded a full ride scholarship to the University of Notre Dame through a nonprofit called QuestBridge. The nonprofit partners with prestigious universities to offer scholarships to students from lower-income families. To qualify, students must be in the top 5-10% of their class and have primarily A’s in the most challenging courses available. There are also requirements for financial income and standardized test scores.

Isaiah plans to major in marketing at Notre Dame with the hopes of owning his own business and starting a nonprofit.

“I've always wanted to give back to homeless shelters and be there as much as I can for other people who have been in my situation,” said Isaiah. “There’s a lot of people in this world and in this country specifically, that are often overlooked, and that are often pushed to the side. That's what I want to do with my life to be there for others and always be there for others.”
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