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First generation Florida teen gets into every Ivy League college


A Florida teenager, who is a first-generation Nigerian-American, has quite the variety of Ivy League schools to choose from — every one of them.

Ashley Adirika, a debate champ who hopes to help alleviate income inequality, got into Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.

“The tears just started to come out. Like they started to flow out,” she told ABC News about her reaction to finding out.

“My siblings and I were just really excited, like screaming, jumping around. It was crazy.”

The budding scholar, who went to high school at Miami Beach Senior High School, was also accepted to Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Emory.

“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,” the 17-year-old student told CNN.

Ashley ended up choosing to attend Harvard.
Ashley wound up choosing to attend Harvard.
Instagram / Ashley Adirika

“I remember crying a lot and just being extremely surprised.”

Ashley ended up choosing Harvard, which only accepted a record-low of 3.19% of applications for the class of 2026.

“Before the college application process, Yale was actually my top choice. But when I did further research for what I want to do specifically, which is explorations in policy and social policy and things of that nature, Harvard just had a better program,” Ashley said, adding she wants to study how policies can ameliorate income disparities.

Ashley always dreamed of attending an Ivy League school.
Ashley always dreamed of attending an Ivy League school.
Instagram / Ashley Adirika

She’ll start her Ivy League education in the fall and plans to go to law school after obtaining her undergraduate degree.

“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,” she said.

“But in the long term, I want to use that as a platform to do work in policy.”

Adirika was recruited to her school’s debate team when she was in eighth grade.

“Everybody knew Ashley because of how smart she was. She had test scores through the roof,” said Bess Rodriguez, a seventh grade English teacher who recruited her.

“When we went to debates, the other kids, when they saw her come in the room, they would say, ‘Oh no, we have to debate Ashley.’ You know, she just got a reputation like that.”

“I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land," Ashley said.
“I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land,” Ashley said.

She also started a local organization, Our Story Our Worth, that provides mentorship to young girls of color.

Unsurprisingly, Ashley was student council president and spoke at her high school graduation ceremony too.


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