Daijah Guillermo Selected As Inaugural Renée M. Chung Prize Winner

The prize is endowed in honor of Renée Marika Chung (XVII), a former Prep advisor, Invictus teacher, admissions officer, and Alumni Prize winner who devoted her life to making schools more equitable and inclusive.
Prep for Prep is proud to announce its first Renée M. Chung Prize awardee: Daijah Guillermo (XXXVI). The prize recognizes a graduating college senior who has a demonstrated interest in a career in education. Daijah was chosen because of her dedication to supporting children's psychological development, particularly in communities of color. Her demonstrated commitment to the Prep community, her plans to pursue graduate education, and her clear desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others embody the spirit and memory of Renée Chung.

A senior psychology and theatre major at Northwestern University, Daijah supplements her studies with several extracurricular roles, including literary manager of Northwestern’s Vibrant Colors Collective, mentor for the school’s POC theater community, intern at the MAMA Foundation for the Arts Program and TED-Ed Programs, and teaching assistant for Prep for Prep’s Aspects of Leadership. 

Daijah has aspirations of becoming a child psychologist and working closely with educational organizations to promote and optimize the psychological development of children in communities of color. “I firmly believe that children of color are beacons of the future,” said Daijah. “Prep for Prep opened my eyes to the ways children of color flourish when we receive proper and purposeful support. Mental health and well-being practices undergird our potential and require agents of social change who are passionate, innovative, compassionate, and inspired.”

In addition to a mutual commitment to children and education, Daijah and Renée share a connection to The Spence School. Renée was the school’s Associate Director of Admissions & Finance; Daijah is a 2020 graduate. This is strictly a coincidence, as the award selection committee does not give preference to applicants who graduate from any of the institutions with which Renee was affiliated.

Still Renee’s influence on the students she connected with is undeniable. “Renée Chung was a light and a haven for every student who crossed paths with her,” said Daijah. “I was overjoyed to learn that Spence was welcoming her into the admissions office. She had an incredible gift of seeing and affirming students. Her love for her community, for Prep, and for knowledge poured out of her. She is an emblem of the power of collective-building. Her mark on New York City and on people of every age and walk of life will forever ground and inspire me. I carry our conversations and collective visions with me as I embark on my career path.”
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