Nationwide — Daya Brown, an 18-year-old African American student from Atlanta, Georgia has been accepted to more than 50 colleges and universities. She has also earned over $1.3 million in scholarship awards.
“It really wasn’t about the number of schools I applied to, it was really about making sure that I had options for my parents to really sit back and relax,” Brown told Good Morning America. “Student loans are something that I do not want. So this is kind of a gift, both to myself and to them.”
Brown, who is a senior student at Westlake High School in Atlanta, said the key to her achievement is working gradually and purposefully towards her goal.
Brown said she started preparing early, researching schools that had certain majors she wanted to study, such as mass communications or film, even during her sophomore year. She then worked on participating in different extracurricular activities that may also help cultivate her passions.
During her free time, Brown works as the CEO of Elom & Co. Productions, a production company she founded that supports emerging creators with the aim to make an impact in society through creativity.
Moreover, she said she couldn’t have achieved her dreams without the support of her family.
“My father, he is a pastor [and] an educator, so I learned my rhetorical skills from him. My mother, she’s creative, so I learned her visionary attributes. My grandmother, she makes all of my gowns, so I learned all of her artistic abilities. My brother, he reminds me to like laugh every day,” she said. “At the end of the day, I believe my village really showed up.”
Now with a lot of options, Brown decided to attend Duke University as she immediately felt welcomed and connected with other Black students in the university who had the same interests as her. She plans to study visual media studies with a minor in journalism, just like what she really wanted to do from the start.
“No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, you have to stay up many nights to get the work done if you want the GPA, but at the same time, it wouldn’t feel like such a burden, if it’s your passion,” she said. “I wake up every day, happy about what I do.”
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