Angel A., 17 – Funded

Angel A. wants to fight for disadvantaged people of color around the world as either a lawyer or diplomat. So it may come as no surprise that this Girl on the Rise is planning on majoring in Political Science and International Relations on a pre-law track. Her dream universities include Georgetown, Howard, Yale, and Emory.

What is something you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the work I have put into joining and uplifting organizations such as our Student Council and Waco Youth Council. I have come a long way from where my parents came from in Ghana, working my way up to the top of the class while maintaining leadership positions in those organizations, among others.

In leading the Student Council, I am especially proud of our efforts to run blood drives at our school. As the vice-chair of the Waco Youth Council, I am proud of our work last year in creating the “Keep Waco Beautiful” Earth Day Carnival, and I look forward to our projects this year, hopefully addressing college readiness.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

When I became the debate team captain, I was excited to build up the team and make it far in the debate circuit. That was until both the UIL coordinator and our speech coach quit.

I was devastated. What looked like the beginning of my most successful debate season was turning out to be a disaster. But I refused to let it derail me. First, I created a comprehensive “Everything You Need To Know About Debate” manual for incoming freshmen. Then I worked with our new coordinator to find tournaments that would be learning opportunities. Through practice, we built a productive team.

Unfortunately, we were not successful at debate tournaments. We faced issues with inexperience — signing up for tournaments we were not familiar with and pitting first-year teams against seniors. But we had fun. We interacted with schools we would never meet again, and they taught us some techniques.

So, although this wasn’t a winning year for us, we learned how to be successful next year. Where we lack experience or resources, we are learning to make up for it with determination. I have continued to carry this grit in every activity I participate in.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

It means the world to me to be given this opportunity. I have always been a proponent of working for those who have been historically disenfranchised — from a disenfranchised position myself.

I have worried about how I would be able to pay for some of my expenses as I get ready to go to college because our family is in a transitioning period. Now, I can step out and fully embark on this educational journey that will help me further fight for those who have been forgotten.

Beyond being a woman, as a young African-American woman, I have seen many injustices towards my gender and my race. I am delighted to be a part of a stepping stone that bridges the educational and opportunity gap for women and women of color.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

When women try to join in “predominantly male” spaces, we are often pushed out in favor for the status quo. I see Girls on the Rise as a means to fight the status quo. I know where I belong and cannot be told otherwise.

I was reminded of this when I traveled to my parent’s home country, Ghana. We wanted to immerse ourselves in our heritage, so we ventured to places such as Kejetia Market. Traffic was always thick, doubling traveling time. I never complained; it allowed me to connect with my culture. Sitting in traffic and eating koko, I felt like I belonged.

We finally made it to the market, a monstrous concrete building. Upon entering, we found a shop with a fabric my sister liked. While admiring it, the lady made haughty remarks in twi. My mom ignored their remarks, asking, ‘How much is it?’ They negotiated the price until they agreed, and the owner cut the cloth. One shopper condescendingly commented, ‘white children.’ The owner laughed, handing us our purchase. I paused, but my mom snatched the bag and left.

Before this, I had never realized others “dictated” who were outsiders. Though I felt I belonged, I encountered people who presumed I didn’t, such as the ladies who assumed we couldn’t understand the language.

I’m inspired to seek a space with other girls who know where they belong, as well. Together, we can uplift each other to create spaces for our womanhood, and humanity, to thrive.”

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

I would not have been able to visit my prospective schools and others with exemplary programs without funding. Being able to make these visits will help narrow my decision and allow me to learn more about the schools and if they are a fit for me.

I want to create lifelong connections at a university along with an invaluable learning experience. I intend to find a space where I will fell welcomed and valued. This funding will propel me towards finding that space and thriving in it.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

Georgetown University! Its proximity to our nation’s capital is perfect for job or internship opportunities in the field I am interested in. I also love their Walsh School of Foreign Service, and I would love to meet the professors and some of the students and talk with them about the uniqueness of the school and programs there.

I would also visit Yale University. It wasn’t originally on my radar, but I have a friend who attends there and speaks very highly of the political science departments and pre-law programs on campus.