Focused on College

Senior Spotlight - Focused on College
Posted on 05/20/2020
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DHS Class of 2020 top ten senior Alanah Armstead has had her sights on college since the 7th grade.  When she heard there were high schools in DFW offering the opportunity to earn an associate degree while earning a high school diploma, she set forth plans to make sure she was admitted to one.  So, she was elated to learn that beginning her Freshman year she would attend DeSoto ISD’s Early College High School.

“I saw this school as an opportunity to get ahead in my academic career and reduce some of the burden my mother would face with putting me and my 4 siblings through college,” she explained.  “As a low-income minority, I was forward-thinking and wanted to take advantage of every opportunity I could find.”

That drive and determination served her well and she has now completed all classes to graduate high school with an associate degree from Cedar Valley College.  

Having received or qualified for the district’s SOAR award all four years of high school, as well as being inducted into the Spanish Honor Society in 10th grade, and she was also inducted into the National Honor Society in 11th grade, serving as treasurer her senior year.  Devoted to bettering the world around her, she is active in many civic organizations and projects including the City of DeSoto’s Youth Advisory Council, the Best Southwest Everything Teen Expo, Rotary Interact, and area food drives.  She mentored and tutored elementary students and worked fund raising projects at AT&T stadium.   But her focus on getting a college education never wavered, even with financial constraints.

“In the middle of my junior year, I learned about the Questbridge organization, whose mission is to connect the nation's brightest students from low-income backgrounds with leading institutions of higher education and further opportunities,” she explained. “April of 2019 was the beginning of it all when I was accepted as a Questbridge College Prep Scholar.”

Strengthened as she continued through the process of becoming a Questbridge National College Match Finalist, her Christmas was very merry indeed.  Waiting until the end of the day to check her messages, Alanah learned that she was one of the first 87 students guaranteed admission to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and with a full ride ($325k) scholarship.

To top off the award, she received a reaffirming message, handwritten by her Yale admissions officer, Nubia Jackson, which read in part “I felt a palpable spark while reading your essays — you have such a bright and resilient spirit.”

Her hard work had paid off!  “I will be a 2020 graduate from DeSoto High School, ranked 5th in my class of 660 seniors with an unweighted GPA of 3.96.  I received more than $700k in scholarship offerings and was a Jack Kent Cooke Semifinalist as well as Gates semifinalist and a Ron Brown GPS Scholar and Captain. I boast acceptances from my first-choice, Yale University, as well as Howard, North Carolina A&T University, Spelman, UT Austin, University of Houston, TCU, and others.”

Alanah is not only college bound, but she’s headed to an Ivy League university with a full ride scholarship. At Yale, she plans to major in environmental science for sustainable development.

Congratulations Alanah!  Soar on proud Eagle!  #TogetherWeWill #2020NewEra