It’s the Black excellence for me!
A Philadelphia teen has been awarded the distinguished Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship, Blavity reports.
Akayla Brown is an 18-year-old South Philly senior who was just accepted into 18 different colleges and universities, graduating top three in her class with a 4.19 GPA. In addition to her numerous acceptance letters, she has also received more than $2 million in scholarship offers. She has been chosen as one of 300 high school students across the country to win the prestigious Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship Award.
“When I got the news, I couldn’t breathe. I had to go outside for more air; I was outside jumping up and down,” Brown told reporters.
Brown was confident that her work would speak for herself, but she also knew she was competing against thousands of applicants and just wasn’t sure whether she’d be chosen or not.
“I originally thought there were 10,000 applicants. Then I learned it was more like 34,000. I did have my doubts. But I believed in myself and manifested it all the way. They had my transcripts, so they already knew what I did in school. They could see that I had a 4.19 GPA. So instead of talking about school, I talked about my passions. At the age of 13, I decided to start a nonprofit, so I told them about that and how it has grown and how with this scholarship, I will continue to grow and extend it,” she said.
Brown’s nonprofit, Dimplez 4 Days, a play-off of her nickname, was created in 2016, utilizing community events to address issues like homelessness and food insecurity. The teenager hosts back-to-school drives, caters events for those dealing with homelessness, and recruits other young people to assist with her efforts. The teenager credits her mom with motivating her to accomplish all that she has.
“You can put that in all bold. I am Dimplez, and I am the face of this nonprofit, but if not for the moral support and guidance from my mother, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Brown said.
She hasn’t yet decided which school she’s attending, but she did get accepted into her top three schools, Temple, Villanova, and Howard University. She plans to major in international business and hopes to use her degree to help grow her nonprofit while staying close to home.
Photo Courtesy of Blavity