Khadijah Watson may have won a full ride to the University of Virginia, but the road to college hasn’t been an easy one.
Watson is planning to major in biomedical engineering, a passion that came out of personal tragedy. She helped care for a younger cousin who was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away at age four. Although she was devastated by his death, she used this emotion to fuel her desire to excel academically. Now, she’s earned the opportunity to attend a prestigious university and hopes to use her education to help cancer patients.
At Hunter Huss High School, Watson has been president of the math club and was also voted homecoming queen. Through the QuestBridge scholarship program, she received an all-expenses-paid award that is given to the brightest students with significant financial needs to attend top-tier universities.
Though her college expenses may be paid, she’s had other bills to cover in the meantime. This year, Watson has been working near full-time hours at Taco Bell because she is responsible for providing for all her financial needs. She stays up late after her shift to finish her homework and is keeping her eyes on her goal of college.
“She has definitely persevered and overcome a lot,” said school counselor Lisa Brooks. “She’s resilient.”