Teen accepted into all eight Ivy League schools just 10 years after arriving in the United States

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Thursday, April 9, 2015
Indy teen accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools
Indy teen accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools

Ten years ago, Stefan Stoykov didn't know a word of English. Today, he is a high school senior who has been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools.

Stoykov was born in Bulgaria, but he moved to Indiana with his parents when he was just eight years old.

"I started crying on the first day of class," he said. "I didn't understand what was going on around me."

This year he is among the elite group of high school seniors staggering under a pile of prestigious acceptance letters from all the Ivy League universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale.

Stoykov said his mother, who is a housekeeper, inspired him to work hard.

"My parents had done so much to put me in this position, to put me in the United States of America," he said. "And I had to take advantage of that. I had to do something with the opportunities they gave me."

Being able to say you've been accepted to all eight Ivy League schools has become a mark of honor for teens across the country. Some of Stoykov's peers in this elite group are also immigrants or the child of immigrants.

Harold Ekeh, a 17-year-old from Long Island, was the one of the first to go public with the news earlier this week. He is an aspiring neurosurgeon who was the editor-in-chief of his school newspaper and who started a college prep mentoring program.

Munira Khalif of Minnesota is also a member of the eight Ivys club. She started a non-profit called Lighting the Way, which works to give better access to education for young girls in East Africa. Her parents grew up in Somalia. She plans to major in political science.

As for Stoykov, he has a perfect SAT score, is his school's valedictorian and tutors other students, among other extra-curricular activities.

And then there are the teens who almost made the elite list. For Nik Bostrom of New Jersey, that might have been because he didn't apply. He got into the seven Ivys where he sent in applications, all except Dartmouth.

The choice won't be easy for any of them: On top of the Ivy League schools, the seniors were also accepted into other prestigious schools like Stanford and Vanderbilt. They'll have to make their decisions in the next month.