Florida High School Valedictorian Who Got Accepted Into 72 Colleges Shares Words of Wisdom
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Florida High School Valedictorian Accepted Into 72 Colleges Shares Advice

(Courtesy of Ja'Leaha Thornton/Good Morning America)

After achieving 72 college acceptances, Ja’Leaha Thornton of Belle Glade, Florida, has some advice for young people starting the application process.

Thornton, a senior at Glades Central Community High School, is scheduled to graduate May 24 with a 4.9 GPA and as her class’s valedictorian, according to South Florida Times.

“I know the process of applying could be kind of overwhelming to many, and instead of stressing myself out, I decided to make it a competition…and see how many I can actually get into,” the 18-year-old told Good Morning America. “I wanted to broaden my horizons and explore some different schools outside of my state.”

And so she did. Thornton applied to multiple colleges simultaneously—90 in all—through both the Black Common App and the Common App. At most, she paid $20.

The prodigious teen, having clearly excelled in her application process, wants to motivate students to soar beyond their wildest dreams.

“Shoot beyond the sky, because it’s a world out there, and it has so much for us to explore, so don’t limit ourselves. Go beyond what’s in front of you and don’t take advantage of time. Use your resources and your opportunity.”

The soon-to-be grad will attend the historically Black university, Xavier University of Louisiana. It is all possible through her healthy competition, eagerness and determination. Thornton has plans to major in pre-medical psychology with a minor in chemistry to prepare for her career in forensic psychiatry. She intends on attending medical school.

Thornton said that she is “interested in working with the people who have committed crimes and trying to get them back on the right track, studying their stories and seeing how we can apply that to life.”

Her determination has been supported by her family, friends, and guidance counselors.

“They have been the solid foundation for me,” she said. “I believe in the saying ‘It takes a village to build a child,’ and that was my village,” she explained.  “Also my school family, my guidance counselor, my teachers and my friends. Pretty much everybody that helped me through the journey. I’m just excited for the next steps of my life.”


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