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Guilford County's Selena Collins heads to Duke University on a full-ride merit scholarship

Western Guilford scholar Selena Collins is one of eight students awarded the Benjamin N. Duke Memorial Scholarship and will receive a full ride to Duke University

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Guilford County Schools graduate is heading to Duke University on a full-ride, four-year scholarship.  

Western Guilford High School scholar Selena Collins is one of the eight recipients selected for the highly competitive Benjamin N. Duke Memorial Scholarship.  

“I want to go into education policy and go to law school so I can become a lobbyist,” Selena said.

The incoming Duke freshmen’s goal to guarantee all children have a solid education was developed from her own experience in the A.P. Capstone Academy at Western Guilford.

Selena graduated in June with a 4.66 weighted GPA, graduating 7th in her class.

“Last year I got a B.  I know that might not be anything to most people, but the B hurt my feelings,” Selena said. "We are very competitive in this program.  I have a 4.6, and I'm not at the top in my class, so it's definitely competitive. We are happy about everyone's wins, but we also want them for ourselves."

The straight-A student’s passion for others drew the attention of some of the best colleges and universities in the region.  She was accepted to Duke, Carolina, NC State, UNCG, UNCC, Guilford College, Elon, and Greensboro College.  She also secured admission to universities across the nation including more than $1 million in scholarships.  But the word free made her decision simple.  

“Duke is $80,000 a year, so that’s $320,000 after for years.  That’s a lot!  I wanted this scholarship because I didn’t want to come out of school and have six figures worth of debt,” Selena said.

Education aside, Selena is a huge sports fan and athlete, serving as captain of Western’s track and field team.  She got the call about her Duke scholarship on the day the entire state was focused on the "Battle of the Blues."

“It was the Saturday of the Duke/Carolina game and I had just found my prom dress.  It was a good day," Selena said.

Thanks to her dad, who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, Selena grew up a Carolina fan.  Now with her admission to Duke, her allegiance is swaying.

“I’m not going to lie; I was cheering for Carolina before.  My dad went to Carolina, so I would normally cheer for Carolina but now I’m all the way Blue Devils," Selena said.

Selena said her father is taking it well, especially since Duke is covering all four years of her tuition. 

“He got to go on a tour of Duke and to a certain extent he fell in love with the campus, so I think we have a future Blue Devil on our hands.”

She thanks her mother and tight family circle for every gentle push toward her goals.

"I am going to give all the credit to my mom. My mom has always known that I am capable of getting all A's.  She taught me how to put my best effort toward everything. I'm thankful for her and thankful I get to stay close to home."

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