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EDITH MENSAH OTABIL
YOUTH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT

AGE: 18
NATIONALITY: Ghanaian
EDUCATION: Burncoat High School

I am a survivor. I faced many obstacles but I overcame them because I have a sense of purpose. That purpose is to help orphans and the needy. Though I was born and raised in Ghana, and suffered tragedy and want, I always knew there was a place and purpose for me.
My father died of a heart attack when I was just four years old. My mother had the opportunity to migrate to America so she left me in the care of my grandmother, and worked as hard as she could to survive in the U.S. Back in Ghana, it was very tough for grandmother and me to fend for ourselves. I knew these adversities were preparing me to become a better person in the future. The death of my father and the adversities I faced to survive have strengthened me to withstand any difficulties that come my way.

 I came to the United States in 2012 with the hope of a brighter future. When I arrived, it was very hard to cope and adjust to the new environment but I worked very hard to get good grades and be among the top students in my class. My junior year, I won second place in the District Science Fair. Last summer, I was selected as one of the twenty students from a pool of one hundred and twenty students across Massachusetts to participate in the High School Health Careers Program at UMass Medical School. Through this prestigious program, I got the opportunity to shadow and observe doctors during one-to-one patient examination. Because of my hard work, I won an award for Best Biology Student and took first place for the Health Disparity presentation at the end of the program. From my junior to senior year in high school, I took dual enrollment classes, English 101 and Physical Geography 101, from which I earned A s. Also, my guidance counselor nominated me to attend a prestigious program in Washington, D.C. called the National Academy for Future Physicians, for which I received a full scholarship to attend. I was able to meet a lot of prominent people such as Dr. Connie Mariano, who was the personal doctor for presidents Bush and Clinton.  I have been introduced to a lot of opportunities and have gained experiences from them all.

My senior year has been filled with many incredible moments and experiences. On February 18th, I was selected as one of the one hundred and fifty Coca-Cola scholars from 102,000 applicants across the United States with a scholarship of $20,000 and a paid trip to meet the other scholars in Atlanta for three days. This scholarship was awarded through a series of essays and interviews. Also, I received the Red Pine scholarship which is worth $9,705 and is renewable every year. Because of my loyalty, service, and leadership to my school and my community, I was awarded the DAR (Daughters of American Revolution) Good Citizen Award of my school. I also received the Girls Inc. Leadership Academy scholarship.

Through my high school years, I have been the president of the Career Club, vice president of Foreign Language Honor Society, treasurer of National Honor Society and I have been in numerous school clubs and activities such as Math team, Book club, and cross country (varsity). I am also a former member of the American Cancer Society; we meet to discuss about the Relay for Life walks and how we can help cancer survivors.

Outside of school, while balancing homework with a lot of household chores and responsibilities, I enthusiastically help and serve people in my society and church. I have participated in a series of walks for hunger and breast cancer.  I am also the youngest appointed deaconess at church. Every Saturday, I clean my church, starting from the stairs to the bathrooms and every corner. I am a member of my church’s youth choir and I also involve myself in numerous church activities.

I plan on attending College of the Holy Cross this fall with a biology concentration on the pre-med track. It is an honor to receive the Holy Cross Worcester scholarship which covers all my tuition for four years. And with my outside scholarships, I will attend college debt free and will have $20,000 towards my medical school education. In the future, my goal is to study ophthalmology in college where I can collaborate with my colleagues, find the cause of blindness associated with genes, and develop a cure for stopping the disease from passing to generations after generations. I want to establish an eye clinic in Ghana which will be affordable for everybody despite their economic background.

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