Rockford student graduates high school with a full-ride scholarship after being taken in by teacher


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO)- Rockford teen, Sean Fisher, is one of fifteen students who graduated from Keith Country Day School on Friday afternoon. But his journey to the stage at the Tebala Event Center wasn’t like that of his classmates.

“I kinda grew up in a rough neighborhood, low-income situation, and that put a lot of stress on our family,” Sean said. “Unfortunately, I had to go into foster care for a while.

Sean first started at Keith in 2016 and says it immediately felt like home.

“Keith has always been super close- each student has been close to one another, and close to the teachers,” he said.

But at the school, Sean didn’t just find a place to call home- he also found a place to go home to. History teacher Kristin Burns grew to know both Sean and his older sister while coaching the Quiz Bowl team. Two years later, she and her husband Daniel became the siblings’ legal guardians.

Keith Country Day Co-head, Charo Chaney, has seen educators step up to help students during her time at the school. But she admits she’d never seen anything on this scale before.

“That takes a very remarkable person. And I commend her for seeing something special in him, and wanting to make sure that he was in the best environment, where he could really thrive,” Chaney said. “And we saw that it really made a big difference.”

Now, Sean is set to attend Vassar College in New York this fall after receiving a full-ride scholarship. He says it wouldn’t have been possible without his new family.

“Foster parents is a term I don’t use often,” Sean said. “They’re my parents- they’ve taught me so much, they’ve supported me as parents should. They’ve allowed me to excel and be the best that I can be.”

Sean will major in molecular biology in college. He hopes to one day work for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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