CLK student accepted into Harvard University

Gracia Perala said she is still a bit in shock, but is mostly just excited.
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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CALUMET, Mich. (WLUC) - Gracia Perala of Calumet Laurium Keweenaw Schools can sing, play piano and kick a goal in soccer.

And now, she’s been accepted into Harvard University as a first-generation college student to study English.

“My freshman year if you would’ve asked me what I was going to study,” said Perala. “It probably would have been science because I was obsessed with biology and physical science. But then it kind of evolved into English.”

Perala said her interest in English solidified during a course she took about modern literature. Then, as it became time to send in college applications, she decided to go big with her plans to study English.

Perala applied to all of the Ivy League schools in the U.S.

“Originally, Harvard was not the end goal,” said Perala. “It was Princeton, that’s where I decided I wanted to go for a long time.”

English Teacher Lacey O’Donnell helped Perala in her application process, and even wrote her a letter of recommendation. Which she included in her application to Harvard.

“I kept telling her,” said O’Donnell. “You deserve this! Harvard would be lucky to have you.”

Shortly after Harvard received all of Perala’s documents and application materials, they reached out to her for an interview.

Perala said she felt the interview went well and then another bit of time went by.

Finally, Perala got the call. She had been accepted into Harvard with a scholarship that would cover more than 95% of attendance costs.

Perala said one of the most important things that helped her application process and interviews was just simply to be herself.

“This is a big move, and it’s scary, but also exciting,” said Perala. “I feel like I’m at the point in my life where I need something to change in order for me to change. So I’m excited.”

Perala will begin her first semester at Harvard in September.

She looks forward to all of the new people she will meet and the clubs she will check out.

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