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Solarah Acree

This Girl's Got Grit

By Savannah Waszczuk

“I want to be one of the ones who becomes successful from this school.”

As both an accomplished athlete and a mathematician in the making, Solarah Acree has her sights set on the Ivy League, and is doing all she can to realize that dream.

The magic wand question is always an interesting one to ask kids: “If you had a magic wand and could wave it one time to get anything you wanted, what would you ask for?” A pony! A Ferrari! One million dollars! – depending on the age of the child, answers vary greatly. But when Solarah was asked to answer this exact question, her response differed from 99% of her peers. “I wouldn’t use it,” Solarah says. “I wouldn’t use it because I want to get where I want to go on my own.”

Now in her eighth-grade year, Solarah has attended the Meridian Community Unit School District her entire school career. “When I was little, I used to travel a lot with my mother, until I turned six,” Solarah says. “Then I came back here and lived with my dad. But now I live with my Auntie. I grew up here since Kindergarten.”

School has always been a large part of Solarah’s life, and she thoroughly enjoys everything from her daily math classes to her after-hours activities of basketball, volleyball, and track. In fact, these studies and extracurriculars all but consume her eighth-grade life — and all by choice. “I used to want to go to Princeton,” Solarah says. “But Princeton is a hard school to go to. I know I’ve got to have a backup plan. So for that, I want to go to LSU (Louisiana State University) and do sports, and also for my mathematics.”

While math is Solarah’s strong suit, she’s quick to admit she’ll need to increase her study time in all subjects to up her odds of making it to the Ivy League. “I’ve got to practice more on my education,” Solarah says. “I’ve got to do better, and get good grades. Play better at my sports. Take all the math classes I can, and get better.”

Whether she’s talking about long jumps and hurdles or discussing how she recently took Calculus classes online (as an eighth-grader!), Solarah speaks slowly and confidently, and with a high level of certainty in her voice. It’s obvious that the girl is determined, and it’s even more obvious that the girl’s got grit. And while she’s still debating whether she’d rather be a tiger at Princeton or LSU, one thing’s for sure — the choice is truly hers, and she’ll get wherever she wants to go. “I want to be one of those people who makes it out,” Solarah says, discussing her future. “I want to be one of the ones who becomes successful from this school.”

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