Liam John Smith, Wright College’s 2023 salutatorian, was born in Ukraine and joined his parents in Chicago about 10 years ago. He became a Chicago Public Schools student and attended Taft High School, where he learned about the Star Scholarship.

Liam decided to take advantage of the scholarship, and he started his college journey at Wright College, a school he had driven past countless times while growing up on the North Side of Chicago. At Wright, he became involved with several student clubs and societies and held various leadership positions within the organizations. Those activities made Liam’s experience worthwhile, allowing him to gain leadership experience and connect with his classmates.

“I never thought community colleges had so much to offer—so many resources [and] activities,” he said.

Liam earned his associate degree in May 2023 and was accepted into the University of Illinois Chicago through the school’s guaranteed admissions program. He plans to pursue a degree in English with a focus on pop culture, entertainment, film, and media and hopes to one day become a professor.