The recent bombshell FBI investigation into a college cheating scandal involving high-profile celebrity parents has rightly called attention to the absurd and immoral lengths parents will go to in order to ensure the success of their children. Unfortunately, the individuals who paid exorbitant sums to secure their kids’ admission into high-ranking universities were ignorant of the fact that character, virtue and integrity — the true makings of success — can’t be bought.
A lesson in true success
A New Jersey high school senior recently made headlines for his inspiring story of overcoming homelessness to gain acceptance into 17 universities. Dylan Chidick, 17, immigrated with his family to the United States from Trinidad when he was just 7 years old, WLNY-TV reported. Though he was able to become a citizen, struggle and hardship have characterized much of his young life.
Chidick’s younger twin brothers have serious heart conditions that have taken a huge financial toll of the family, resulting in periods of homelessness. But for the high school senior, no circumstance is too bleak to keep him from pursuing his goals.
“The dream I want to achieve, I have to have a lot of determination,” Chidick told WLNY.
“My family went through a lot and there has been a lot of people saying, ‘you can’t do that,’ or ‘you’re not going to achieve this,’ and me – getting these acceptances – kind of verifies what I have been saying. I can do it and I will do it,” he said.
Despite the uncertainties and unique challenges that plagued his personal life, Chidick was inducted into the honor society and elected senior class president at Henry Snyder High School. Pretty soon, he will become the first in his family to attend college, a feat he admits wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his mother, Khadine Phillip.
Faced with crushing medical bills in addition to the normal expenses that come with raising young boys, the single mother reached out to the nonprofit, “Women Rising,” for assistance.
“It has been hard financially, we have been homeless,” Khadine Phillip told WLNY.
“She is a great example in doing everything necessary to help her children,” Roseann Mazzeo, executive director for Women Rising, said.
The charity was able to provide Chidick’s family with permanent housing, among other things, giving the teen a stable environment where he could study and focus on his goals.
“Making herself vulnerable and putting herself out there, that made me determined to never let us get back in that situation again,” Chidick said.
The honor student is still hoping to receive an acceptance letter from his top choice, the College of New Jersey, where he plans to study political science.
When reflecting on Dylan Chidick’s incredible perseverance and his mother’s courageous efforts, the infamous college cheating scandal involving celebrity parents like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman appears all the more despicable. In addition to being illegal, the lengths to which these parents went to ensure their children’s acceptance into elite schools showcase an utter failure in parenting.
Honest work is an essential ingredient in human flourishing. When these parents took that opportunity away from their children, they robbed them of the satisfaction a student like Dylan Chidick gets to experience. Their patronizing interference in their kids’ academic futures deprived them of the self-confidence that comes from earning success.
There’s that word again — success. Another key takeaway from the cheating scandal is that many parents are completely misguided when it comes to defining “success” for their families. By focusing primarily on the appearance of worldly success — money, academic achievement, social status — they’ve forgotten that their primary duty is to shape and protect their children’s souls.
Matthew 16:26 reads: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
Regardless of where his future leads him, Dylan Chidick is a success — not because of his academic achievements or his potential to achieve wealth and status, but because he chose the way of virtue. His mother should be proud of her son, and she should be applauded for raising a young man of such integrity.