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Former Ugandan Refugee Is Graduating As Valedictorian With $200K In Scholarship Offers

Former Ugandan Refugee Is Graduating As Valedictorian With $200K In Scholarship Offers

She’s overcome it all!

Julianne Lukambo is a high school senior at Northland High School in Columbus, Ohio, 11 Alive reports. An accomplished student with a bright future, Julianne’s life wasn’t always easy. She was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, spending her first decade of life at a refugee camp in Uganda. 

“Due to the ongoing war, we had to move to Uganda as refugees, so that’s where I spent most of my childhood,” Julianne recalled. 

Pushing through challenges, Julianne found her stride in school, excelling academically and earning top honors. Now she’s graduating as valedictorian of her class with more than $240,000 in college scholarships. Julianne said she was shocked at the dollar amount but grateful for the opportunity. She credits her success to support from faculty and staff at the school. 

“I was kind of surprised because I wasn’t like keeping count of the amount, but I think first of all I did keep my grades up throughout my entire time in high school. That’s something that helped me a lot. And also, I would say getting involved, networking, and branching out. It really helps you a lot with getting recommendations and having them [teachers] recommend you for different scholarships,” she explained. 

The teen is one of the top 50 earners in the school district. The senior class at Northland alone has earned a combined $5.6 million in scholarships, with Columbus City Schools seniors clocking in more than $33,172,272.00 in scholarship and financial aid money. Julianne says that despite her rough start in life, she wouldn’t be who she is without it and is grateful for all she’s been able to accomplish. After graduation, Julianne will be headed to the University of Dayton where she’ll be pursuing a degree in computer science. 

“Overcoming the adversity that I have had to overcome to reach where I am today has been a real challenging journey, and I would say that from coming from where I’m from, to here now, I would’ve never expected it, so overcoming all of that is something I’m really grateful for and proud of,” she said. 

Congratulations Julianne! 

Cover photo: Former Ugandan refugee is now graduating as valedictorian with $200k in scholarship offers/Photo Courtesy of 11 Alive