TWIGGS COUNTY, Ga. — A Twiggs County High School senior has a big choice to make after being accepted into 84 colleges. Aylah Birks has already accomplished a lot.
She has around $2.2 million in scholarship offers, is a finalist for the Gates Scholarship AND is an author, but the path to those accomplishments hasn’t always been easy.
“I think the main driving force behind these accomplishments has to be my mother. Just seeing her tireless effort of always taking the time out to read me a story, or teach me something new as a child,” said Birks.
She faced a major hurdle when her mother had to take care of an ill grandparent a few years ago.
“I especially could not participate in as many extracurricular activities as I would like to, but I still maintained that grasp in school and my mother couldn't be as present as she is now in my extracurricular activities because she was so busy supporting him and I completely understand,” said Birks.
She continued to press forward.
“It was not easy and you will have no idea how many long nights I stayed up trying to find out the information for myself on college deadlines, college admission expectations, what to do, what not to do,” she recalled.
One of the things she wanted to do was write a book.
“My book is titled ‘Perspectives Through the Looking Glass’ and it's a hybrid book between poetry and personal stories that discusses several topics and it really is a book where it's very interactive and it gives the ability for the audience to start a conversation with me,” said Birks.
Some people at school tried to shake her confidence and pull her off the path toward success, but she didn’t let them drag her down.
“I was often bullied and I didn't understand why, but when you're bullied…people see something in you that they don't see in themselves,” said Birks.
She’s now an advocate for anti-bullying and she’s determined to finish her high school career on a high note.
“My story is not ending in Twiggs County, but it’s only just beginning. I think the most rewarding part is that I’ve made my family proud and I’ve made myself proud,” said Birks.
She currently holds a 4.0 GPA, and says Clemson and Mercer are two of her top choices. She plans to major in behavioral neuroscience and legal studies with minors in communications and public health.