CYPRESS, Texas — A Cypress teenager is achieving big things, graduating with a high school diploma and college degree as she gets ready to attend a prestigious university in the fall.
Sarah Olufemi-Dada said she couldn’t believe it when she got an acceptance letter into her dream school.
"I was screaming and I read Stanford. I was like, no way, this is my first choice," Olufemi-Dada said.
She has a full-ride scholarship to Stanford University. However, she said achieving that was not easy.
She had to balance school, clubs, give up some extracurricular activities and work multiple jobs to help support her family. Olufemi-Dada said all the hard work paid off.
"I wanted to be great and though I couldn't be great in my instrument or my sport, I knew at least with academics, I could do something," Olufemi-Dada said.
She graduated from LoneStar College CyFair on Saturday with an associate's degree in science. Next week, she’ll graduate from high school. She was able to accomplish that through a program called College Academy.
On Saturday, more than 3,000 students graduated and about 500 of them were College Academy graduates who are high school students like Olufemi-Dada.
LSC-CyFair president Dr. Valerie Jones said it’s the largest graduating class in LoneStar College history.
"Students really gain benefit from being able to have this nurturing support of college while still in this high school environment before they go off truly on their own," Jones said.
Enrollment at LoneStar College has increased in recent years. Jones said it has helped take off some financial burden off students who are headed to four-year institutions.
"Students don't have to work as many hours or they're able to pick a university that may cost a little bit more because they've already accumulated such a significant savings," Jones said.
For Olufemi-Dada this opportunity has been eye opening. She wants to inspire others to after their goals.
"There are spots where, you know, people like me who put in the effort or wanted to aim towards these schools but never thought they could pay for them,” Olufemi-Dada said.
She’ll attend Stanford in the fall where she’ll study computer science and biocomputational engineering to become a leader in personalized medicine. The best part, she said, is that it’s all paid for.
"I kind of just stop and think sometimes like I really did it. Oh my goodness,” Olufemi-Dada said.
When it comes to what motivated her to accomplish so much? She said, "For my family, for my siblings, specifically."