Huntsville student accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, among others

Huntsville student headed to Harvard

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - If you don’t already remember the name Ella Burch, you will.

Burch is now a graduating senior at Huntsville High School who most likely would have been named valedictorian. So when the school district decided last fall it would no longer recognize the honor, she went to the board requesting that decision be overturned. Still, Huntsville City Schools stood by its decision to do away with the prestigious class rank.

Fast forward a few months.

Despite not officially being recognized as top of her class, Burch is still headed to do great things.

She got accepted into Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Duke, Southern California, Vanderbilt and a number of other universities.

With Harvard always being the dream, she’ll be sporting crimson in the fall.

“Opening that congratulations, I just froze for a moment because I did not actually believe that that was the word on the screen," she says in reference to her acceptance letter. “It was a really, really good moment. I’m never going to forget it.”

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Burch’s high school career certainly ended in unexpected ways, but she’s grateful one thing is certain.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to start on campus in the fall. I’m not sure how my graduation is going to go, the end of senior year, things that I was supposed to experience... but I’m glad I know where I’m going and that there is a future waiting for me.”

Having been very politically involved at Huntsville High, Burch is planning to study government and political science at Harvard with the hope of pursuing law school.

“I did a lot of work in activism, journalism... I was editor in chief of a national paper," she says.

Burch’s success is certainly proof that hard work pays off, and that’s something she wants other students to remember.

“No one else is going to get you there except your own motivation,” she says. “So, if you’re ambitious, get out there and meet people and work your way up.”

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