MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s tough for many students to get accepted into one college. But one Shelby County senior received more then 50 acceptance letters and nearly $1 million in scholarship money.
“I would go check the mail, and that would be the first thing I look for. Like, ‘Oh. Okay. Let’s see what I got.’ I started getting so many letters,” MaKayla Buchanon said.
She wanted to prove to herself and others that it could be done. “You always hear the negative things. You want to do something positive. And me, I’m so humble. I realize I’m getting all these college acceptance letters, but I’m not saying nothing. You know, I don’t like the attention.”
The senior says he obtained the scholarships while working and being involved in extra curricular activities and mentoring. She says she had a strong support system of teachers and family members helping her along the way. “Especially my mom. She’s my motivation, because she didn’t go to college. She sees a smaller version of her.”
It’s a reality that many students at the Memphis Business Academy face in their pursuit of success.
“We know that this zip code doesn’t determine your destiny. It will never determine your destiny. It’s up to you. You have to want it. You have to be self-driven to do and accomplish everything. We’re providing the resources that you need,” Principal Shunskis Hamilton said.
Being college-bound is more than a school motto. Students are constantly reminded throughout the hallways and classroom doors that college-bound can be a reality.
“It means a lot just being in a black community, because a lot of people doubt. Or we don’t have the courage or the motivation to keep going, especially being the 38127 area,” Buchanon said.
She hopes to give student the confidence to reach beyond their current address. She recently learned she’s the valedictorian of her senior class and will attend Clark Atlanta University in the fall.