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Meet the Philadelphia native heading to Harvard on a full scholarship

<i></i><br/>Maia Peele was accepted into grad school at Harvard University on a full scholarship

Maia Peele was accepted into grad school at Harvard University on a full scholarship


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    PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — If you’re on TikTok, chances are you’ve seen lots of graduation videos lately.

Well, a student from West Oak Lane also got in on the trend to share her rise from Philadelphia public school to Harvard University.

As graduation-themed videos flood TikTok, one hit close to home.

Maia Peele, 22, showed her evolution through elementary to middle and high school in Philadelphia and this year as she graduates from Ursinus College.

“It’s really cute and it just shows the different stages of my education,” Peele said.

But what’s not included in the video is what’s next – Peele was accepted into grad school at Harvard University on a full scholarship, where she’ll study religion and spirituality.

“It felt surreal,” Peele said.

Judging by all the awards and certificates Peele earned during her undergraduate years, it’s hard to believe growing up she didn’t see herself as Ivy League material.

“Yes, I grew up in the Philadelphia education system. I’ve struggled through high school. I didn’t have the best scores,” Peele said.

“One thing I knew was I could get my children to college, but can I keep them there? I will try to remove every mountain so they can climb,” Aja King, her mother, said.

It was her mother, along with several college professors and guidance counselors, who Peele says motivated her to change her outlook on not only education but her surroundings in Philadelphia.

“Sometimes children in Philadelphia, they do not have the self-esteem or the confidence,” King said.

“My story is a story of growth and it’s for the average student who at some point will believe in themselves to excel higher, to have resilience, to be adaptable. I got those skills from living in Philly,” Peele said.

And she’s taking them with her to Harvard.

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