During this time of year, thousands of high school seniors eagerly await a thick envelope in the mail from colleges and universities congratulating them on their admission.
Chelsea King, an 18-year-old Saipan native who currently lives in El Paso, Texas, was one of those young hopefuls. King lived on Saipan for 13 years before moving to the U.S. mainland. She attended San Vicente Elementary School from kindergarten to 6th grade, Marianas Baptist Academy when she was in the 7th grade, and Saipan Southern High School in the 10th grade. She intermittently attended school in the U.S. mainland, where she moved as part of her family’s military duties. She is now a senior at John L. Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas.
While King moved often, she always had one goal in mind—to pursue higher education after graduation. Last month, Stanford University sent King the thick envelope that she had hoped for, with a bonus—acceptance into the university and a full-ride scholarship. A few weeks later, she was named a Gates Millennium Scholar.
Her recent success follows after a long road of adversity, “but it shaped me to become the person I am today. I hope that other youth who face adversity do not let it hold them back and instead, motivate them to pursue something greater.”
King also shared her experience with the admission process. “When I got my first rejection letter, I told myself that it is not the end of the world.” She encourages other students to remain positive if they are rejected admission to a university. “What matters is what you do and make of yourself at any educational institution,” she said.
King said her time on Saipan widened her perspective and made her realize that there is more to life than white, sandy beaches and Sunday afternoon barbecues. However, she also appreciates the guidance she received from educators on Saipan. “Everything I did and accomplished on Saipan is what made my goal clear. The educators there pushed me in the right direction,” she said.
While King was on Saipan, she was a member of the youth environmental ambassadors club, math club, peer tutoring program, book club, and the Real World Design Challenge. King emphasized that students should participate in activities in their areas of interest: “Do things not to get into a good university, but do it because you enjoy [it]. I loved math, volunteering, and the environment so that’s what I focused on.”
She plans to become an engineer, after her brother, an engineer, inspired her to seek a career in the field. “I just hope to take what I learn [at Stanford] and give back,” she told Saipan Tribune.
The Saipan native added that humility is a key factor in succeeding. “I try to always remind myself not to blur my vision into thinking that I am better than other people. I do not let the accomplishments [overshadow] my humility,” she said.
King credits her success to Nancie and Jesse Celis.