#BlackExcellence: Georgia teen, accepted at 31 colleges, to attend HBCU

Kayla Willis plans to attend Fisk University, where she recently won a full-ride scholarship.

Classroom theGrio.com
(Photo: Fotolia/smolaw11)

A photo of a Georgia high school student, who was accepted into 31 colleges and universities across the country, went viral after her father encouraged her to share the news on social media.

Kayla Willis, a student at Westlake High School in South Fulton, Ga., was accepted at schools including Notre Dame, the University of Georgia, and Spelman, according to 11Alive. She also received an estimated $900,000 in scholarship offers, the report said.

Kayla, who has a 1160 SAT score and a 3.95-grade point average, plans to attend Fisk University, where she recently won a full-ride scholarship, the report said. She told the television news outlet that she plans to major in International Business and Spanish at the HBCU.

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She became a social media star after her dad encouraged her on Sunday to tweet a photo of a wall at her high school that showcases colleges and universities where students have been accepted.

“He was like, ‘You need to show the world how great you are’,” she said of her father. 

To her surprise, she received responses almost immediately. Her picture currently has over 148,000 likes, and nearly 35,000 people are talking about it. 

“I posted, turned off my phone, clocked into work and I just keep hearing a bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing,” she said told 11Alive. “And I’m like, what is going on? Am I going viral right now?”

Although, she has picked her college, she still expects to hear from other schools after sending out 50 applications. She was able to apply to all of the schools she applied to by requesting that they would waive their entrance fees. She only ended up paying for postage.

The soon-to-be high school graduate wants to encourage others to follow in her footsteps. 

“To show [other students] that someone who made an average SAT score who has good grades—someone can make it and do that type of thing,” she said.

Overall, Kayla said she wanted to use her platform to show other students that there is hope in getting accepted into college.

“I wanted to inspire people and show them that you can actually dream big and get to where you want to go,” she said.