Class of 2020


A North Carolina graduating senior has a lot to be excited about, getting accepted into 45 colleges and receiving more than $4 million in scholarships, WTVD reports.

Ive Jones is a senior at Apex Friendship High School in North Carolina. While commencements everywhere have been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones is still celebrating, and rightfully so. The 17-year old is graduating summa cum laude, with acceptance letters to 45 out of the 50 schools she applied to and $4 million in academic scholarships. 

“Being awesome was being authentically me, and I didn’t know that until I saw other Black kids doing it,” Ive told Because of Them We Can.

The rising college freshman has worked hard to get to where she is today. At just 11 years old, she organized a fundraising campaign to help children in Africa who were orphaned as a result of the Ebola pandemic, setting an initial goal of $4,000 and raising nearly $30,000. Last year, Jones organized a health conference in Raleigh, North Carolina to encourage young women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM. She’s always had an interest in the health sector and has focused most of her energy thus far on making an impact there. The irony of her graduating while navigating a pandemic here in the U.S. isn’t lost on us. 

“As a student, these things are things we’re going to be discussing in class and I’m going to need to know thoroughly in order to apply my knowledge later on,” she said. 

Jones is taking her talents to Princeton where she plans to major in global health on full scholarship. Her mother, Catherine Jones, said she’s just so proud. “I’m immensely proud of her. She’s just a hardworking person. [Graduation] was a moment we’ve looked forward to. But in everything you have to find gratitude. And you know, at the end of the day we’ll still get to celebrate. I’m West African and we find ways to celebrate,” Catherine Jones said. 

Ive is still hoping that she can celebrate with her class when this is all over. But for now, she’s just focused on the future.

Congratulations Ive!! 

Photo Courtesy of WTVD

A 14-year-old Chicago teen is celebrating a huge win, graduating with her master’s degree before most of her peers have graduated from high school.

According to Rolling OutDorothy Jean Tillman has been exceeding expectations her entire life. At just 8 months old she began talking, by four she was completing math problems and by nine she was starting high school. Three years later at the age of 12, she earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities from Excelsior College.

Tillman said she’s always loved learning and once she finished high school, she figured she should pursue her associates degree which worked in her favor since many of the credits counted towards her bachelors. She just kept going and going.

STEM has always been a huge interest for Tillman, crediting the subjects with shaping her path in education. She obtained her graduate degree from Unity College, through distant learning, in sustainable science and environmental planning and plans to find ways to give back to other young people looking to pursue a career in STEM.

“I’ve been working on STEM labs for kids because I really want to go into the STEM-related field and work with kids. I love helping kids have bright futures. I feel like I’m here to make people happy and to help people find their purpose. I know I want to go into that field, but I’m definitely sticking on the path of my engineering degree. I might go back to school, but my plan is to be an entrepreneur and [use] my engineering degree,” Tillman said.

Tillman said that she just wants to be an inspiration to other kids that they can do it too. “I know, one thing that I would want every kid to know, is that what I did is an option and that they can do it too. It doesn’t take a genius or someone who has been learning forever. I’m not perfect. I’m not the smartest person in the world. It just takes dedication,” she said.

Congratulations Dorothy! We are so proud of you!

Source: Becauseofthemwecan