Kimberly Cross, a 17-year-old Jamaican, recently made history at her New Jersey high school by becoming the first student to be accepted by an Ivy League university.
Cross is currently attending East Orange Campus High School but will become a student at Princeton University in September 2021.
Cross attended Immaculate Conception High School in Jamaica until tenth grade when she migrated to New Jersey. At her new high school where she has spent just over a year, she maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA with As in every subject.
Her stellar academic performance led to her receiving a full scholarship from Princeton University.
In an interview with the Jamaica Gleaner, Cross’s mother, Kay Clarke said she faced many economic and other challenges raising her, but despite the hardships, Kimberly kept her eyes fixed on her educational goals.
“She is my only child and I work my heart out to take care of her,” said Clarke, who said she was brought to tears when Kimberly was interviewed by members of the school board on her achievements.
Not only does she excel in academics, but also in extra-curricular activities. Kimberly is a part of the East Orange Campus Debating Society and is a member of the Gifted and Talented Programme at the institution. She holds the position of president of the Spanish Honours Society, and in her spare time, Kimberly writes poems.
“One of my goals right now is to put together a collection of my poems and make it into a book to be like an author on the side,” she told The Gleaner.
“I don’t even know how I did it, but I had no choice but to be successful and keep my grades up. I promised myself that I would not let my grades drop because of extracurricular activities or other things I was doing,” she said.
Kimberly is also part of the East Orange Campus Social Justice Union, which seeks to educate, empower and inspire the community about social justice, issues related to police abuse and racial inequalities.
Cross plans to major in biology at Princeton and is considering a minor in political science.