Marianas High School senior Kate Yamamoto Ishida joins the list of CNMI students who received a full four-year scholarship through QuestBridge National Match Scholarship and is set to live her dream of a “guilt-free” college experience.
Ishida, who will pursue her college education in Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, said her dream was to go to college without having to burden her mother with tuition, so the news of a full college ride through QuestBridge is a dream come true.
“[When] I researched colleges at the end of my junior year, my heart sank when I looked at the annual tuition costs. So when I did get matched to Bowdoin College, I went home that day and cried tears of joy because I would receive the education that I’ve always wanted and not have to worry my family about costs,” she said.
Ishida shared that she wasn’t even expecting to receive a QuestBridge Scholarship because of her performance in high school. Getting a rejection letter from the Gates Scholarship did not help her confidence.
“I wasn’t expecting to match with a college through QuestBridge. My SAT scores weren’t particularly outstanding and I knew that Questbridge college partners have extremely low acceptance rates,” she said.
Ishida was inspired to apply for QuestBridge after her sister received the same scholarship back in 2014 and received a full-ride to Grinnell College.
“At the time, I remember everyone making a big deal out of it, but it never really dawned on me how much her scholarship helped lift some of the financial burden off of my family until it [was] my turn to apply for college,” she said.
Ishida hopes to inspire others to pursue a scholarship through QuestBridge. “Coming from a small island, we tend to believe that things like full-scholarships at top colleges in the [U.S.] mainland are too far out of reach. I used to think so too,” she said.
MHS’ James Matthew Quijano Reyes also received a scholarship through QuestBridge and was matched with Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.