While the United States college system may have been rigged for the offspring of the rich and wealthy, as exposed in the recent college admissions scandal, there is one girl who stands in stark contrast, and she is a beacon of light for all that is good.
Georgia teenager Jakelia Baker, 17, has a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.1, and is the valedictorian of her 2019 class at Lucy C. Laney High School in Augusta, Georgia.
The teen was accepted into more than 50 colleges, including Clemson, Oklahoma, and Michigan State. She was awarded approximately US$1.3 million in scholarships—all because of her hard work and diligence.
“It really boosted my confidence and my self esteem because I honestly didn’t think that I could achieve such a big goal,” Baker told Good Morning America.
Studies are not the only thing she excels at, as Baker participates in varied extracurricular activities such as “volleyball, basketball, golf, tennis, soccer, also in the marching band, math team, student council, National Honor Society and Academic Decathlon.”
Baker’s inspiration to be the best she can is fuelled by her mom, retired Army veteran Denise Richards, who has kept her daughter focused and is “her top motivator.”
The youngster managed to apply to about 65 colleges and was surprisingly accepted to around 55 of them. The exceptionally talented teen had also reached out to colleges for fee exemptions and waivers.
“Every day I would start getting acceptances. I’m like, ‘Whoa, did I really apply to that many schools?'” Baker told ABC7 News.
Throughout the application process, Richards kept her daughter on track. “Some days I wanted to go to sleep, and she would come in my room and ‘How many colleges have you applied to?’” Baker told ABC7 News, “And I said,‘I’ll get to it.’”
Like all successful things in life, Baker too had her own share of sacrifices to make in order to reach her goals. “I had to miss out on parties and stuff,” said Baker. However, the sacrifices have paid off.
After getting accepted to so many colleges, it must have been a tough process to choose the one she would attend. Baker announced on March 29 that she has decided to accept Penn State Beaver’s offer, and signed a letter of intent for the same. In Pennsylvania, she will play volleyball, something she excels at. Baker is happy with her choice, “they feel like my second family already.”
It was an honor to represent Lucy C. Laney and to receive the African American Scholar Award tonight‼️😬
Indeed, hard work does pay off. Proud mom Richards said, “She don’t wanna have no regrets, that’s the kind of person she is.” She further added, “Anything that she puts her mind to, she exceeds and excels.”
Describing her daughter as a “mixture between shy and outgoing,” Richards said, “Our whole family, we kind of dance and laugh a lot.”
Richards has been a great support to her daughter and has helped her to move mountains.
The youngster also urged others to not give up on their dreams and said, “The process will be hard, but keep pushing and you will reach your goals.”
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