Delaware high school student gets 25 college acceptance letters, close to $800K in scholarship monies

NEW CASTLE, Del. (WPVI) -- Anissa Cartagena, a senior at William Penn High School in New Castle, is determined to go to college.

Beginning last November, Cartagena applied to two colleges a day, eventually sending off 50 applications.

Despite the multiple applications, Cartagena only paid one application fee.

"That's because I call the undergrad admissions and I talk to them and I ask if they can waive the fee, just because I really want to apply to their school," said Cartagena. "So far, I have 25 college acceptances and $795,000 in scholarship money."

Cartagena credits the Air Force Junior ROTC and her school counselors with helping her reach her goals. But she works very hard.

She is Vice President of the Senior Class, Commander of her Air Force Junior ROTC unit, Secretary of the Honor Society, she's in school clubs, has two jobs and a 3.7 GPA.

The motivation to do all of that and become a first-generation college student comes from deep within.

"I grew up in North Philadelphia and it wasn't the best of areas and people around me, they don't go to college," she said. "And my mom, you know my mom was a teen mom and she struggled. So, watching my mom work so hard without a college degree makes me want to make her proud and want to make other people proud."

She says her parents are ecstatic.

Cartagena wants to major in Political Science and eventually become a lawyer.

She says it takes lots of hard work, ignoring the doubters.

"It's instilled in me. I can't just sit here and do nothing. Like I have to make my mark on the world," said Cartagena. "And it's just about believing in yourself. Like you can do anything you set your mind to."

Cartagena said she still hasn't decided which school she will attend.

She will make her decision in the coming weeks.
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