NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – High school graduations are always special and whether kids choose a school close to home or move away the time is the unofficial transition into adulthood. No one knows that better than a young lady graduating on May 31 from Cedar Hill High School and she has more than one reason to celebrate.
Carah Allen has never broken stride in her time at Cedar Hill High. “I’ve been the same rank all four years,” she said. “So, my family is like ‘it’s just another thing that Carah did.'”
But make no mistake, Carah graduating as Cedar Hill’s valedictorian is not the same old song. It’s a tune of triumph to say the least.
“Me and my mom were running around saying ‘How am I going to pay for school? How is this going to happen?’ And then, April 20th came and I finally got a scholarship. Because we’ve been struggling financially, so to have that… it really was a blessing.”
On April 20 Carah received a letter that will forever change her life. She was one of 300 students in the country (out of 37,000 applicants) to receive the Gates Scholarship… as in Bill and Melinda Gates. It’s a scholarship for outstanding minority high school senior from low-income households.
The scholarship covers any and all costs that their other financial packages (from their chosen school) does not. Carah explained, “Even though college is expensive, you don’t have to pay that much. [It’s worth it]] if you take the risk and apply for these competitive scholarships — even if you don’t think you’re gonna get it. I didn’t think I was gonna get this.”
In other words, worry less and do your best. Carah plans to use her motto years down the road, as a career counselor for other high school students.
Clearly Carah has struck a lasting cord with Alexander Riggins, her band director at Cedar Hill. “She is that golden child,” he said. “There’s no excuse. Success comes from anywhere.” And success travels, in this case to California. Carah will attend Scripps College. The school is regarded as the most prestigious women’s university on the west coast.
Carah admits, “I’m gonna have a really big reality check… being away from my family and friends. I’m ready for this change and to have a new perspective.”
The soon-to-be college freshman is reminded in her final pep talk at Cedar Hill that this chapter ending paves the way for an exciting new beginning. In musical terms, she’s someone on the rise.
Band director Riggins explained it this way. “You start off very soft and increase your sound through a certain time period. I’m very proud of her. I could characterize Carah Allen, musically, as a crescendo.”
In addition to being a counselor who helps high school students on their transition to the next level Carah plans to study film and wants to be a film critic.
The total value of all the different scholarship offers she received is almost $1,000,000.