Brittany Kelso’s first plane ride came on her way to Yale. The Rogers High School senior flew alone to the freshman orientation in April. Her bags were lost on the way. She was concerned she’d encounter the preppie snobby stereotype that goes along with a prestigious Ivy League school.
“When I went there it was incredible,” Kelso said. “You expect everyone to be way over your head. Then you realize everyone is normal”
People walked around campus in “camos” and sweats.
A student band played to entertain the crowd.
“One of the performing groups was a rap group,” Kelso said. The lead singer had a short mohawk and an orange shirt with a jack-o-lantern on it.”
Almost no one talked about their grades, likely because most had straight-A’s like she did. She was surrounded by people from 50 states and 42 countries.
“It was the first time in my life I felt like a minority,” Kelso said.
In the crowd was a Miss Texas rodeo queen, a student who herded cattle through school and another who raised his siblings.
“I was the person who got involved in a humongous plethora of high school activities,” Kelso said.
Her activities included music, student government, the tennis team, and speaking up in class. Her adviser, Joe Busch, said she’s not exactly reticent.
“She’s real intense in class,” Busch said. “If she feels short-changed on a grade, she’ll let you know.”
“I have no tact, not at all,” she said. “I don’t even realize it until I begin to get one of those looks.”
She does stand out. Principal Wallace Williams remembers her from her freshman year because she was so outgoing.
“She’s just a natural leader,” Williams said. “Part of that is the confidence she got from her mother. Her mother is an active parent in our building.”
He has no doubts Kelso will be very successful.
Kelso lives with her mom. Together the two of them live a modest life, Kelso said.
Yale provides financial aid based on student need. To help meet the annual tuition/room and board of $41,000, Yale is kicking in $36,000 for Kelso. Now she’s hunting for a summer job for her extra expenses.
“Once you get there, they really take care of you,” Busch said. He remembers the Yale recruiter he met last year who told him students don’t leave Yale with student loans.
In his 35 years of working with students, he can’t recall anyone else getting into Yale from Rogers. There were three who got into Harvard.
Now Kelso is further proof that Rogers students can walk into the Ivy League.
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