Gates Scholarship Semi Finalist & community leader: Stephanie Contreras

A participant of the mentorship program and a long time member of the Kid City community, Stephanie is a semi-finalist of the Gates Scholarship! We are so excited for what's to come for Stephanie! Read an excerpt from her scholarship application here.


Stephanie Contreras, senior portrait at OHMMHS


My name is Stephanie Contreras-Reyes. I use she/her pronouns and I am currently a senior at Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. It has been 4 years since Kid City staff first entered my English class and encouraged me to be a part of the Kid City community. Growing up, I was accustomed to taking multiple roles in my family: being a teacher for my three younger siblings, an interpreter for my parents, and an embroidery laborer after school when my family began to struggle financially. Only having had an education up to the ninth grade, my parents could not answer my questions about college. Instead, they embedded in me a desire to advocate for my educational needs at a young age and claim the education denied to my ancestors. My first instinct was to grasp all the help I could find.

When I was welcomed into Kid City’s Mentorship Program this fall, my mentor, Christy, met me with guidance, support, and genuine friendship. When the College Prep team held financial aid workshops, brought in college student panels, and offered personalized support with college applications, I knew I was surrounded with people who believed in my success. Thanks to them, I have had the opportunity to receive honors as a Thrive Scholar, Questbridge College Prep Scholar, and Gates Semi-finalist today. Kid City went beyond supporting me academically. I was welcomed into the Advocacy program in the summer of 2020, invited as the high school student narrative speaker for the “Learning during COVID-time” listening session, and am now aspiring to speak at the Harvard Alumni of Color Conference with Sal and a great team of students.

Our team is united under one goal: to speak for our family’s dreams, our community’s needs, and our vision to address issues greater than ourselves. Our zoom breakout rooms resonate with resilience and the reminder que si se puede! I feel prepared to not only survive, but thrive beyond high school and for that I can thank Kid City. I am a proud Latina. I was raised in a loving undocumented home with big dreams. I will be walking the graduation stage this June at the top of my class and as the first in my family’s history to do so.