For Miriam Michel and DeAnthony Dixon one simple log-in to the Vanderbilt University application system equalled a life-changing moment. Both LEAD Academy seniors were admitted to Vanderbilt in the early decision round of applications, the first time in LEAD Academy history to have early decision admits to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt commits to meeting the full financial need of every early decision student.
“I am so proud and excited for Miriam and DeAnthony and I know they will do very well at Vanderbilt,” said Kelly Pietkiewicz, LEAD Academy’s college counselor. “I know that many LEAD students would thrive at Vanderbilt and similar schools, and I cannot wait to follow the paths of these two as they represent LEAD’s legacy at the university.”
DeAnthony embraces the role of being a trailblazer.
“For African American males this is a very rare opportunity that I’ve been placed in,” he said. “Not too many can say they were admitted to Vanderbilt purely from academics. The fact that I’ll one day be an inspiration for another young man or women of color is very motivational for me.”
For both Miriam and DeAnthony, Vanderbilt’s location and reputation offer exactly what they seek in a college experience.
“Vanderbilt seemed to have the perfect balance of demanding academics with passionate students who get involved in their community,” said Miriam. “This is evident in the amount of resources Vanderbilt offers to their students, from the strong neuroscience program to the Vanderbilt Dance Marathon. Additionally, I have grown up in a very close family. The Commons experience seems to make Vanderbilt a home away from home. And, [I get to] experience Nashville in a whole new light.”
DeAnthony also wanted to be close to home while earning a world-class education. “This university embodies greatness,” he said. “Their school of engineering is among the best throughout the country and a diploma from here will hold a lot of respect in the work force.”
“I’m most excited about being one of the very small number of students to have the opportunity to work with great professors on cutting-edge research,” she said. She is looking forward to being pushed to new limits with the support of professors and peers.
Both students feel ready for this next step because of the support they’ve received from their families, friends and LEAD staff.
“Within the walls of LEAD I got a sense of belonging and these people truly became a family away from home,” said DeAnthony. “Although I did love playing basketball this fell second to the college trips. This gave the opportunity to actually see what college life is like and take away things we valued from each school.
“At Lead, my teachers and friends became my second family,” said Miriam. “These teachers I could go to before school, after lunch, during their break, etc. and they would sit with me and listen to me rant on and on about the most irrelevant stuff. Whether I needed a place to sit and cry or have a full blown charades game with my friends their doors were always open: through my best and worst days.”
LEAD Public School’s mission to prepare students for college and life means Miriam and DeAnthony can accept their offers of admission to Vanderbilt with pride and confidence, and it means their 125+ fellow seniors can look forward to their own life-changing moments as they log in to admissions portals for colleges and universities across the United States.