Adelanto High School senior earns Ivy League scholarship

ADELANTO — An Adelanto High School senior will be making her way from the High Desert to the Ivy League this fall.

Rayna Franklin, who is currently at the top of her class with a 4.7 GPA, recently got the news that she has been accepted to Brown University on a full scholarship. Franklin connected with the prestigious university through a program called QuestBridge, which helps find college opportunities for the nation’s brightest students.

“We’d like to congratulate Rayna for all of her hard work, which has afforded her this amazing opportunity,” Adelanto High School Principal Ebony Purcell said. “Rayna embodies our school’s values of Achieve, Honor and Serve, and we are so proud to see her take her education to the next level.”

Franklin visited a number of colleges (either in person or virtually) after her junior year, including Dartmouth, Pomona College, CalTech and Wellesely. She had an opportunity to visit Brown and take a week of special summer classes for prospective students, but the airfare to Rhode Island seemed cost prohibitive and she was going to skip the visit. AHS teacher Dr. Aleka Jackson-Jarrell took to social media to help raise funds so Franklin could make the trip.

“I told her, ‘It’s Brown! You have to go!’ ” Jackson-Jarell said.

It turned out to be good advice, as Brown offered Franklin a four-year scholarship. Franklin said she is currently undecided on a major and she chose Brown for its “small, liberal-arts college feel.”

Jackson-Jarell is Franklin’s advisor in the AHS Black Student Union and also the coordinator of the Heritage Program, a pilot program at AHS that aims to close the achievement gap by supporting African-American students in attaining college readiness. Franklin is one of dozens of Heritage students who have been accepted to colleges and universities this school year, and she hopes that might inspire some of her classmates who are unsure about college.

“(Heritage) is an excellent tool for people who aren’t really thinking about higher education because it really gives the foundation, the groundwork of what goes into trying to get into the whole system,” Franklin said. “It makes it more attainable when you know someone who has done it. I think just knowing someone who has done it makes it more possible to achieve.”

Franklin attended Adelanto for all four years of high school. She said “there is a genuine interest in the kids as well as creating programs that will help guide everyone” at AHS.

“As a school district, one of our vital purposes is to prepare our students for any type of higher education they may strive for, from community colleges to prestigious universities,” Victor Valley Union High School District Superintendent Carl Coles said. “An Ivy League scholarship is a point of pride not just for Rayna and her family, but for Adelanto High School, the school district and our entire community.”

Adelanto High School senior Rayna Franklin visited Brown University last summer and took a week’s worth of classes. She has recently been offered a full scholarship by the Ivy League university.