February 14, 2021

First-Generation College Student Finds Second Home in Naperville

North Central College freshman, Elizah Leonard, found a second home and family in Naperville.

The business management major is from Wisconsin Dells, and has been wrestling since fifth grade.

Finding a Second Home

It was her skills on the mat that made the North Central women’s wrestling team reach out and ask her to come tour the campus and meet the Cardinals. “You know when you meet people and you just vibe with them and it just clicks? It felt like home,” said Leonard.

Leonard knew this was the place to be. Because she has hearing aids, she sometimes needs some extra help.

And the team has been a big support, even learning some sign language too. “The girls and the coaches, they’re always there no matter what,” said Leonard. The smaller classrooms and professors willing to help have also made things easier.

A Part of the Ho-Chunk Nation

Leonard is also a part of the Native American Ho-Chunk Nation. In 2016 she was the tribe’s pow wow princess.

“I want to represent them in a good way because I’m very proud of where I come from and I want them to be proud of me too,” said Leonard.

First-Generation College Student

She also hopes to make her family proud. The first-generation college student is the oldest of six children and knows her younger siblings look up to her. “I try my best to show them that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve it as long as you put in the work,” said Leonard.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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