Student Scholar Shares Success Story
It’s officially graduation season! Students across Brevard are donning caps and gowns for that much anticipated walk across the graduation stage. I remember how excited (and a tad nervous) I was during that time, knowing my life was soon changing.
It’s been more than a few years since I graduated, but throughout the years, countless grads experience similar feelings as they approach this major milestone.
Victoria Hopkins, a senior at Cocoa High School, is no exception. Victoria has already lived through massive changes in her life, starting with being adopted and moving to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo at just 8 years old, and moving to Florida and changing schools in the midst of her freshman year.
This fall, Victoria heads to the University of Notre Dame on a full scholarship, which she was awarded through the prestigious QuestBridge National College Match program. QuestBridge is a national nonprofit organization that connects low-income, academically exceptional students with top colleges and universities.
I sat down with Victoria to learn more about her journey to success.
Have you always excelled in school?
Yes. I’ve always been excited about school because when I lived in Africa, we didn’t go to school that often.
How was the QuestBridge application process?
It was very daunting. There were a lot more requirements than a typical college application. I was super surprised to find out that I was a finalist! I just thought I was throwing a rock to the ocean. And then to be matched — that was even more shocking!
What are your plans for your studies at Notre Dame?
I’m studying Aerospace Engineering. I’m going to join the ROTC program, and then I might continue to get my masters, or maybe join the military.
What is your dream job?
I’ve wanted to be an astronaut since I was 9 years old. When we moved to the Space Coast, I was freaking out!
What motivates you?
It’s knowing that not everyone gets this opportunity. Growing up in Africa, I saw what my life would be like if I had stayed there. I have brothers and sisters who are still in Africa and I know of the struggles they are facing, and when I think of that, I think, “My life isn’t that bad, my struggles aren’t that bad.”
What advice would you give to younger students planning for college?
Don’t limit yourself to just what you think you can do. Just because you don’t think you can, doesn’t mean you can't. I didn’t think I was going to get into college, honestly, but I did!
Victoria is certainly an inspiration, and a great reminder that no matter what your story is, the future is bright!