Class of 2021: Camden scholar, athlete heads to Carnegie Mellon this fall

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It hasn't been easy for the Class of 2021, but 17-year-old Maya Goodwin of Camden, New Jersey, was determined to stay focused.

"We just all had a goal this year to finish out strong," Goodwin said.

Goodwin attended LEAP Academy University Charter School since kindergarten and graduated with a 4.3 GPA. She is heading to Carnegie Mellon University College of Science in the fall.

LEAP seniors take college classes at Rowan and Rutgers universities.

"Being around other college students and professors, it gives you a general idea of how college is going to be," Goodwin said.



School founder and board chair Gloria Bonilla-Santiago noted that it has been challenging for students during the pandemic.

For Goodwin, that meant navigating through virtual learning and her softball and basketball seasons.

"We were all struggling as you know with this pandemic, but she met the challenge," Bonilla-Santiago said.

Because LEAP's basketball season was canceled, Goodwin was allowed to play for Woodrow Wilson, her district school.

She was wearing their jersey when she scored her 1,000th point this season.

"I was so happy. I didn't even know the shot went in until it hit the floor," Goodwin said.

Now, she will continue her athletic career in college.

The fourth of six children, Goodwin's parents are in the medical field. She also has plans to be a pharmacist or doctor.

The Goodwins are so proud, even dad, who prefers to be understated.

"I try not to make a big deal of things, but I'm very, very proud of her. She has done a lot of things and achieved a lot," said Maya's father, Matthew Goodwin.

"We're just very proud," emphasized her mother Tamara Goodwin.

"She's going to be a giant. Whatever she chooses, I expect that she is going to represent this community well," said Bonilla-Santiago.
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