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Louisiana teen awarded $8.7 Million in scholarships

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Most parents and guidance counselors advise high school seniors to apply to more than one college — to have at least one "backup school."

Well, Normandie Cormier of Lafayette had more than 100 backups.

She applied to schools through the Common App and the Common Black College App, which allows students to apply one time and have their information sent to hundreds of schools rather than apply 100 times.

Cormier, 18, was accepted into 139 colleges across the country. She has two big binders filled with her acceptance letters in page protectors.

The books sit among letters from the White House, schools and organizations like Burger King, GE and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation about awards and scholarships — $8.7 million in all.

Her family's kitchen table is covered, as are her two graduation caps.

The binders were her mom's idea, even before she got one letter. Single mother Chantelle Gary has been intent on inspiring her children to dream big, work hard and believe. She wore a T-shirt Friday that summed it up — "God. Goals. Grind."

"Sometimes you have to speak it into existence," Gary said. "Be careful what you ask for."

Gary home-schooled her daughter for several years. Then the teen decided she wanted to try Early College Academy for high school.

The school, on the campus of South Louisiana Community College, offers an accelerated program in which students take two years of high school and two years of college courses. So on May 9, Cormier graduated twice, first in her burgundy cap and gown to receive her diploma from the academy and then in navy blue to receive an associate degree in general studies from SLCC.

If that wasn't enough, she's an entrepreneur, tutoring kids and adults in her home and online, visiting a local nursing home, shadowing doctors as a hospital intern during the summer and mentoring girls about STEM education.

That's very impressive!

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