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‘I have a place at top-tier schools’: Westside High School graduate begins collegiate career at Brown University

College Possible student Roshan Spakota of Omaha was 5 years old when he and his family immigrated to the United States.

Roshan was born in Nepal, but the country’s civil war led his parents searching for a safer place to live and raise their four children.

Twelve years later, the recent Omaha Westside High School graduate and first-generation college student is beginning another journey —  freshman year at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

“Knowing I got into an Ivy League school made me realize that I am able to accomplish goals I think are impossible,” said Roshan. “It also reassured me that my hard work for the past four years had paid off.”

The 17-year-old is a member of the Nebraska Nepalese Society, former dance captain of the Omaha Westside High School show choir and was elected Westside Class of 2019 Class President.

Roshan’s three older sisters encouraged him to attend a four-year college. One recommended he join College Possible after seeing her peers succeed in the organization.

“They all said that I should be involved in a college advising group since my parents didn’t know about the basic things you need to apply. My sister told me about College Possible.”

Junior coach Morgan helped him focus on his future and senior coach Madison helped him build confidence, Roshan said.

“He’s naturally smart, but he works hard. Even when he has the best score on something, he always works harder,” said Madison Cappellano, 2018-19 senior coach, who described Roshan as a kind and driven person.

With assistance from his coach, Roshan applied and received a scholarship for high achieving, low-income students, including tuition, room and board.

“Madison really reminded me that I am talented academically. She always reassures me that I have a place at top-tier schools, and without her, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Westside High School English Teacher Jordan Klepfer agreed Roshan is a standout academic.

“Roshan consistently sought a thorough and intricate knowledge of the content we learned in class. Roshan would often seek my help in better understanding what we were studying. It is things like this that made Roshan one of the most successful students in my class.”

Before leaving for Providence, Roshan was a volunteer researcher at University of Nebraska Medical Center cancer lab. He will study science and is considering medical school to help support his family and make a positive contribution to society.

“We don’t have that much diversity in health care, and the more diverse you are in health care the more you can connect with your patients.”

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