** OGTV is celebrating Rosa Parks Day by sharing the story of another trailblazer who did not settle for doing what was expected and instead followed her dreams...all the way to the US Naval Academy! **
This is a story about a determined and humble young woman who came to a country she barely knew to live with complete strangers, all in order to receive the best education possible. In the process she would work hard and defy incredible odds to put herself in the running to become a member of one of the most prestigious institutions in the United States.
Ebony Williams Parris was born in the US but grew up in Jamaica in a poor single parent household, with just her Mom. She was always academically gifted, but knew that even if she was able to attend college in the Caribbean, a career would be hard to come by. When Ebony was 14, her mother suggested that she stay with her adult half-sister in Philadelphia to expose her to more opportunities, and her sister agreed.
Ebony was doing well, attending public school in Philadelphia, when her new home situation suddenly took an unexpected turn. Ebony's sister needed to move to Georgia and wasn't able to take Ebony with her. Without a place to stay, Ebony was afraid she'd have to move back to Jamaica. Normally a quiet young woman who kept to herself, Ebony confided in her math teacher at the time, Rochelle Johnson, about everything that was going on. Upon hearing Ebony's story, Rochelle and her husband Mark decided to welcome Ebony into their home so that she could continue her education in the US.
Before her junior year, Ebony thought that she might benefit from the smaller, more individualized education environment offered at a local boarding school, Girard College. As an honor student with very good test scores, she was a good candidate, did well on her interviews, and was accepted there. While at Girard, Ebony developed a close relationship with Kristen Angelucci, the school's Director of Marketing, who became her confidant and mentor.
As Ebony worked and progressed, she realized if she put the work in, she could achieve anything she put her mind to. This optimistic view led her to ask the Johnsons to join her on a trip to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy. Feeling inspired by watch she saw and heard on the visit, Ebony approached Kristen to discuss the possibility of applying. "I had no idea how difficult it was," Kristen recalled. "Then I started looking at the odds, and I realized that Annapolis is a multi-year process and it is harder to get into then some of the Ivy League schools."
After such a long journey, would Ebony realize her dream? Watch this uplifting story of a determined young woman who does not accept that there are any things she can not do.
Learn more about Girard College at: https://www.girardcollege.edu/
Information about the US Naval Academy can be found at: https://www.usna.edu
To see more OnlyGood TV BIPOC videos, visit us here!
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