“She is gentle and patient, but writes and works with conviction and wit,” wrote one of Ashley’s teachers at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice. Ashley’s college counselor wrote that she is “phenomenally gifted,” with many AP classes and ranking second in her class, with a GPA of over 97%. Beyond academics, Ashley’s record also shines. She is a class representative to the student council and a captain of the school’s dance team. “Dance has been a consistent part of my life since I was in the fourth grade,” Ashley wrote, “and each year I fall more in love with it.”

She is inspired by her father, who “provided me with the love and support a child needs from a parent and showed me that perfection is a goal, not a reality,” stressing that “‘To get a 99 does not mean you could have done better, but it means to look at what you have accomplished.’” She learned from him that “giving something my all is what matters.”

Ashley’s father died when she was in tenth grade. “When I received the call that he had passed away,” she wrote in her essay, “I did what I have always hated. I ran. I ran out of my classroom, through the blue and white hallways that seemed to close in on me making me feel all alone. For what felt like weeks, I was running from everything.”

“Eventually, I stopped running away from life but towards it at full speed.” Now, “I aspire to accomplish everything my dad wanted for me and more. I will no longer run from what scares me but run towards what I want to achieve in life and never give up no matter what life throws at me.”

Many thanks to Sony Music Publishing for supporting Ashley through her college journey.