Kadijat (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Kadijat has used her adventurous spirit, imagination, and determination to overcome obstacles in more than one language. Born here to a family from the Ivory Coast, she found herself at age 11 suddenly living with an aunt in an over-crowded home in Paris. Eventually, she and her brother were reunited with their mother in the Bronx. Always educationally ambitious, Kadijat decided as a sophomore interested in science that she wanted to take the state Regent's exam in chemistry. But her high school didn't want to help her—or anyone—do that. The school did not even offer the necessary science courses. She formed a study group with some classmates, found appropriate instruction videos on YouTube and passed the test. She then left her school and switched to A. Philip Randolph Campus High School, where she is graduating fourth in her class of 272. She's also president of the advisory council and is on her school's varsity soccer team that made it to the city finals. In September, after a visit to her family's country of origin, the Ivory Coast, she will be bringing that determination to the University of Pennsylvania.  

Kadijat will be honoring her mentor, Sharon Washington. Sharon is the executive director and co-founder of The Fierce Leadership for Youth Program at The Fly Academy. Sharon holds many other titles but to Kadijat she is the Teacher Who Made A Difference.