By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Camryn Moore has been on a fast track since preschool and hasn’t slowed down.
The 16-year-old graduates one year early from Fultondale High School on May 24 and will begin classes at Tuskegee University on June 2.
Her decision wasn’t easy. She received over $1 million in scholarships and more than a dozen offers from schools such as University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical University, Louisiana State University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, Auburn University at Montgomery, and Birmingham Southern College.
She ultimately chose Tuskegee because she received a full ride scholarship and the school had the major she wanted, mechanical engineering.
Moore started school early because of a late birthday and by the time she was in the second grade she was six years old. She has been in Science Olympiad since fifth grade, a member of the math team, an athletic trainer and a participant in the Future Engineers of America program hosted by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). She scored a 30 on her ACT.
However, what got her to graduate a year early is her own determination.
“I was thinking about leaving Fultondale last year to go to Alabama School of Fine Arts,” she said. “I looked at my credits and realized that I had 21 and I needed 30 to graduate with an advanced diploma.”
Camryn decided she wanted to finish ahead of her class and asked advisors at school for assistance on finishing early.
Moore’s parents, Shanavia and Cedrick Moore said their daughter’s success is overwhelming and they are filled with pride.
“We couldn’t be any prouder of Camryn and her accomplishments,” Shanavia said. “She has done really well on her trajectory from beginning to now. She’s been very focused and dedicated.”
Cedrick, who is a program manager for Hewlett Packard, and a member of NSBE, said African-American students excel all the time, it’s just not always celebrated, he said.
Shanavia, director of education and workforce development at the Salvation Army, said black children need to see possibilities and options for their futures.
“Sometimes they don’t have those positive role models where they can see that it’s very possible,” she said. “I see a specific demographic at work who simply do not know because they don’t have a mom or dad who graduated from college, so they don’t know what their options are and they limit themselves.”
Camryn said her classmates have asked her for advice on receiving scholarships.
“It made me feel good because I feel like I set an example that shows them that they can do better than what they have . . . [Showing] other kids that they can do really great things from such a small school really makes me feel good.”
Camryn said students shouldn’t only apply to the schools they want to attend and can get in to. “I just put myself out there so other schools could see what I had to offer and I could see what they had to offer me.”
She began applying for scholarships in October and hit $1 million in offers in March.
Shanavia said parents shouldn’t limit their children.
“Don’t limit yourself because you want to go to Auburn (University) or (University of) Alabama,” she said. “Let the schools lead and guide you along the way. Let them find you and see what you’re capable of.”
Camryn also has a 9-year-old brother, Christian, but the pressure isn’t on him.
“He loves his big sister,” Cedrick said. “He’s always hugging her and telling her how proud he is of her.”
Shanavia said it’s important to let the children become independent.
“Camryn made it very easy and she’s always been focused and a dedicated student,” Shanavia said. “We’ve just always stood behind her in her decisions and her choices. We left her future up to her and led and guided her along the way. I think it’s important to allow children to have input into their lives and their futures because it’s their life. No matter what we want as parents, it’s not our life and it’s not our choice and decision. You pray, you give advice, you lead and guide. But ultimately they have to make those decisions on their own.”