“Astonishing” was the word used by one of her recommenders to describe Sarah’s ability, grit, and accomplishments. Spending months in what Sarah recalled as “a group home that turned out to be a lockdown facility” when she was in eighth grade, she became acquainted with children in the foster care system who were in desperate need of academic help. Realizing how much peer tutoring had helped with her own academic work, when she was in high school Sarah formed a 501c3 nonprofit to give peer-to-peer academic help to students in foster care. Recruiting peer tutors from other high schools, Achillea Peer Tutoring last year worked with 200 students from 20 foster care agencies, and has expanded into 30 states. Because the agency received $100,000 in contracts and donations, Sarah was able to pay her administrative staff, 82% of whom are women or racial minorities.

The same recommender, the editor of a magazine covering the world of foster care, commented on Sarah’s “blazing intelligence.” She had asked Sarah to write an article on the tutoring program, and said that in 13 years she had never “had a writer take such close care with word choice,” adding, “it’s as if she had been born a painstaking writer.”

Sarah combines outstanding entrepreneurial abilities with unusual creativity. She is a budding screenwriter, using award money (some in contests with adults) to learn all about the screenwriting process, including the business and technical sides. Anxious to get to college. Sarah completed the demanding Hunter College High School a year early. “Her limitless potential,” her college counselor at Hunter wrote, “is built on her stout refusal to allow the hardships she has faced to ever interfere with her aspirations.”

Many thanks to Leila and Mike Thorne for supporting Sarah through her college journey.