She’s hoping to empower other young Black girls!
A Miami teen got accepted to all eight Ivy League schools, CNN reports.
Ashley Adirika is a 17-year-old student who recently graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School. The child of a single mother of five, Ashley’s mom immigrated to the United States from Nigeria nearly thirty years ago. Ever since she was a little girl, Ashley said she's dreamed of one day attending an Ivy League university and making her mother proud. When it was time to start applying for college, Ashley took a chance and applied to all eight Ivy League schools.
When Ivy Day came, the day all Ivy League schools announce their first-year admission acceptances, Ashley prepared herself at her computer, surrounded by her four siblings. She opened eight tabs on her screen and logged into each school portal. One acceptance letter popped up after another, and Ashley got accepted into every single Ivy League University: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. In addition to the Ivies, Ashley was also accepted to seven other top schools including Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Emory. Her family was ecstatic.
“I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land. And I had no idea that I would get accepted into all of them. On Ivy Day, I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised,” the teen recalled.
What she’s done is no small feat, each Ivy League school only accepting less than 12% of its applicants since 2018. This year, Yale accepted 4.5%, Columbia admitted 3.7%, and Harvard only accepted 3.2% of its applicants, the lowest percentage record in the University’s history. For Ashley, it’s just remarkable and she’s grateful.
A force on her high school debate team, she plans to continue that work in college, hoping to one day become a lawyer.
“I am really passionate about policy and using policy to empower communities. And so in the short term, for me, that looks like becoming a lawyer. But in the long term, I want to use that as a platform to do work in policy,” said Ashley.
She’s already got a head start, founding the organization Our Story Our Worth when she was just in high school. The initiative focuses on mentorship, sisterhood, and confidence-building skills for young women of color. It was through the debate team that she honed in on her communication and leadership skills. Currently, the organization services girls in the Miami community but Ashley hopes to one day expand operations.
The Miami teen has chosen to attend Harvard, looking to major in government with a focus on policies that can positively impact the economic disparities within communities. Ultimately it came down to either Yale or Harvard, and Ashley chose Harvard because she felt like it was a better fit for her ultimate goals. The sweatshirts and hats she got from all the other Ivies she didn’t choose, she gave to her nieces and nephews with the hope that one day, they’ll look at those items as inspiration and remember they can do it too. During her commencement speech, Ashley made sure to wear a little sash that said “Black Girl Magic.”
Ashley credits all of her accomplishments and work ethic to her mom and her family.
“She has just instilled in me the value of education and working hard, as well as all of the strong women in my life, like my older sisters. For me, it’s about making the most of the opportunities that I have at my fingertips and really just making sure that the sacrifices that have been made for me weren’t done in vain,” she explained.
Congratulations, Ashley! May you continue to sprinkle your Black girl magic and excellence wherever you go!
Photo Courtesy of Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald