Growing up in Chicago is a unique experience because it's a city where diversity, academic opportunity and culture produce greatness. CICS values those same things and makes it our mission to enable every student to thrive, every day, on the path to success in college and in life.
Within our network of schools, CICS has seen many accomplishments from its teachers, staff, students and most recently, our alumni.
CICS wants to acknowledge two of our own! Two native Southsiders of Chicago, Crystal Stonewall and her sister Chiya Stonewall. Both are a part of our network and are creating quite the buzz. Crystal is an alum and graduate of CICS Wrightwood, class of 2011, and Chiya is currently enrolled in 8th grade at Wrightwood and graduating this year.
These two sisters have been trailblazers in their right when it comes to navigating their futures. University of Wisconsin - Madison Law School recently held its graduation ceremonies and amongst those crossing the stage was Crystal Stonewall, now Attorney Stonewall. And Wrightwood will be celebrating its graduates this Saturday where Chiya will walk across the stage into her next academic chapter.
CICS Wrightwood Provides a Path Forward
When Crystal reflects on her academic journey she gives credit to her time as a student at Wrightwood. “My journey is embedded and connected starting with my elementary years. From an early age I was very big on being an advocate and putting education first, which led me to ultimately pursue law”, says Crystal. “During my time at Wrightwood, they also made me feel appreciated and valued. My teachers were an inspiration to me, especially the 8th grade teacher who was also an attorney.”
During her time at UW-Madison, she also received her B.A. in Education before pursuing law and had the chance to participate in several organizations that influenced her decision to practice law within the education sector. “My time at the University of Wisconsin gave me the chance to experience a range of things, such as being able to participate on the Dean of Students board for the university and the Dean of Students board for the school of education.” These experiences are what ignited Crystal’s pursuit in marrying her two passions of education and equity into a lifelong career as she also noticed that “Chicago is like the tale of two cities because of the disparities in education, medicine, politics, and economics.”
Greatness Runs in the Family
Not far beyond her sister, Chiya Stonewall, 8th grader at CICS Wrightwood, is also making a mark of her own. She has been a part of CICS from Kindergarten through 8th grade and like Crystal, Chiya has also been able to reflect on her achievements and her experiences during her time with CICS. “Being a student at Wrightwood, and CICS as a whole has been a very influential experience. The staff and everyone are also very welcoming and it’s become a second home”, stated Chiya.
Chiya was a part of several organizations at Wrightwood including the drama club, student council, the debate team, and class president. Most recently, the Illinois Network of Charter School (INCS) selected Chiya as the Outstanding Illinois Charter School Eighth Grader and received a $500 scholarship! Chiya says, “At the end of the day I was excited and couldn’t believe that I was selected as a finalist.”
With all of the accolades, this dynamic duo has attributed their successes to the foundations their parents have set for them as well as being motivated by their older siblings. I think that the future is bright for these two and they also encourage others to relentlessly pursue their dreams. “Shoot for the moon because you’ll always land amongst the stars and always remember to be yourself, no matter what, throughout your endeavors”, says the sisters.
This fall Chiya will be entering her freshman year of high school at the Lindblom Math & Science Academy and has her sights on potentially attending Yale or the University of Wisconsin. As for Crystal, she plans on continuing being an advocate in her field and has been recognized as the 2021 Public Interest Law Student of the Year by the State Bar of Wisconsin and recently has been sworn in as an attorney by the state of Wisconsin. We can’t wait to see what else the future holds.
To hear more from them about their journey and others, click here.