Niagara Gazette — Breaking barriers and shattering expectations is exactly what drives notable people to succeed and holds some human beings back from the scope of greatness.
No matter the adversity they endure, special people continue to push forward. People like Breanna Leslie-Skye, a senior at Niagara Falls High School.
Growing up, Leslie-Skye had a choice to make, not unlike many youth. She could have pulled up short, claimed a life in an economically disadvantaged city kept her from success. She could have succumb to the naysayers or her bullies, both of which, she said, were numerous.
But instead, she powered through and her hard work paid off in the form of a massive $20,000 scholarship through Coca-Cola.
“My mother’s always set an important example for me,” Leslie-Skye said. “Growing up, I always had a hard time at school. There were bullies. I have always been a little shy. I was hard to understand as a kid. But I channeled my energy into academics and it taught me how to be strong and to stay strong despite any hardships.”
Academically, it’s obvious Leslie-Skye has her head on straight. The Coca-Cola scholarship program takes applicants from across the country and offers 250 of them $10,000 toward college expenses. From those, an extra $10,000 is offered to the top 50 candidates after a networking event and interviews are conducted in Atlanta.
Leslie-Skye was chosen to be among the 50 for the full award, which will help her as she becomes the first member of her immediate family to attend college. And she’s chosen Columbia University as her destination, with an intent to become the next Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson studying astrophysics and astronomy.
Being the first person in her family to attend school does put a bit of pressure on her shoulders, she said. But it’s pressure she enjoys because it means she’s setting the correct example for her younger sisters, Cameryn and Sophie.