CUMBERLAND — With incredible enthusiasm, Blackstone Valley Prep High School (BVPHS) is pleased to announce senior Victoria Wijerathnayapa has been accepted to Brown University, Harvard University, and Yale University as a member of the class of 2024. She’s also gained admission to Brandeis University, Clark University, Providence College, Skidmore College, Swarthmore College, University of Rhode Island, Wellesley College, Williams College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
“My first reaction was obviously that I was super happy,” Wijerathnayapa says. “I logged into the portals as soon as the decisions were available. It was a really emotional experience, but a happy one.”
She adds: “I’m not the typical student I thought an Ivy League school would want. I didn’t study abroad; I haven’t left New England, but I did the best I could with what I had. My mom is an immigrant, and she’s made a lot of sacrifices in order to give me the opportunity to get into these schools in the first place.”
Wijerathnayapa, a Pawtucket resident and future first-generation college student, has been enrolled at BVP since fifth grade. She is currently taking courses at the Community College of Rhode Island through Running Start, a dual enrollment program for high school seniors who have demonstrated the academic achievement and maturity necessary to enroll in college courses during their senior year of high school.
“Running Start has been a really valuable experience, especially as a future first-generation college student,” Wijerathnayapa says. “I know the knowledge and first-hand experience I’ve gained from the program will help me succeed when I begin college in the fall.”
Wijerathnayapa plans to major in neuroscience, but also notes her interest in political science. She’s interned at the Rhode Island Board of Elections and the Rhode Island State House, and volunteers with Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. She received the 2019 Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award for exemplary dedication to civic engagement, community service, and academic achievement.
“Throughout her time at BVP, Victoria has continually challenged our expectations,” says David Jose, dean of College and Careers at BVPHS. “What differentiates her, however, is her dedication to excellence—her willingness to ask for help, redo assignments, and ensure a full and thorough understanding. It is clear, no matter what field she chooses, she will leave a lasting impact on the world.”