Kaysia Harrington accepted to Harvard

Owensboro High School student Kaysia Harrington stands outside the Owensboro Public Schools central office on Jan 5. Harrington has been accepted to Harvard.

Kaysia Harrington has been accepted to one of the most elite schools in the country, a first for Owensboro High School since 1998.

The 17-year-old applied early to Harvard University and recently learned she was accepted. However, Kaysia is keeping her options open. She also applied to Sanford and Northwestern universities, as well as her top pick, Howard University.

She doesn’t expect to hear from the other schools until about March, and she plans to make her final decision in May, but she feels empowered to have the choice.

“I get to choose Harvard. Harvard doesn’t get to choose me,” she said.

While she hasn’t decided yet where she will attend college, she does know what she wants to pursue — history, with an emphasis on education studies.

She has a goal of creating an organization that helps schools throughout the nation push for education equity.

In middle school, Kaysia began taking honors classes. It was during this time it became apparent to her that there were more white students than those of color in honors-level classes. That has continued throughout her educational career, and that gap in education is something Kaysia wants to work to close.

Kaysia is OHS senior class president. She has a 4.0 GPA and has scored a 5 (the highest possible score) on all of the AP exams she has taken. She has worked hard to reach her academic goals and said the results are based on grit, hard work and determination.

“It’s nice to be rewarded for all of the long nights and all-nighters, and studying and grinding,” she said.

There have been several educators who have helped Kaysia remain resilient through the years, including Daniel Brown at OHS, who she called “one of the most important teachers I’ve ever had.”

Kaysia also has to give her mother, Rebel Harrington, credit, she said, for raising her to be radical and always encouraging her to work hard.

Her advice for younger students who are interested in bettering themselves is for them to follow their intuition. There were several times Kaysia was told not to do something because it was perceived as being too difficult.

“Continue to be overzealous, and continue to want more for yourself,” she said. “Nobody should outweigh the goals that you have for yourself.”

Kaysia also wants to encourage other students to utilize outside resources. Just because a person is disadvantaged doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to reach out, she said.

“There are so many resources,” she said. “Dedicate yourself to finding them because they will help you in the long run.”

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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