Trameka Pope, a high school senior in Chicago, gave birth to her daughter when she was in eighth-grade. Ever since, she has sought to live her life in a way that transcends social stigmas and statistics. Now, according to People Magazine, Pope is valedictorian of her graduating class and has received 26 college acceptance letters and more than $600,000 in scholarships. The ambitious student and mother is also a cheerleader, takes college-prep and advanced placement courses, and works at a local grocery store.

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In an interview with Chicago’s Fox 32 news, Pope says she plans to continue her education beyond an undergraduate degree and earn a Ph.D. in social work. “I always said that I wanted to make change, and I wanted to be in the history books. I started with myself,” she says.

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