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South Philadelphia high school student makes history as Preparatory Charter School's first Yale-bound student

Philadelphia student bound for Yale after overcoming challenges
Philadelphia student bound for Yale after overcoming challenges 03:52

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A South Philadelphia high school student is making history at Preparatory Charter School after becoming the first student in the school's history to be accepted to Yale University.

Preparatory Charter School senior Dexter Resa, knows all too well the anxiety that comes with applying for colleges.

"I've always been a firm believer of it doesn't matter what school I go to as long as it gets me a good scholarship, you know, I'm good," Resa said. 

Resa moved from California to Philadelphia during his sophomore year with his mother and siblings.

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"Financial circumstances especially since COVID happened, there were some things that didn't go our way. But you know, we're still hanging on, we're still fighting," he said. 

Resa is an honor roll student and always attentive to Ms. Jill Maldonado's class. Maldonado said she considers him an exceptional student.

"Super diligent about his work -- he's such a hard worker. He settles for nothing," Maldonado said about Resa. 

With a 4.0 GPA, Resa is also the class valedictorian, but this still wasn't enough for some universities.

On May 28, he opened a fateful letter from Duke University saying he had not been accepted. Later, he received the decision letter from Yale University, ultimately deciding where to spend the next four years, a letter that he proudly carries around.

The first person he shared his good news with was his mother. 

"It was actually my mom's dream school," he said. "I love her so much, you know. One of the main reasons why I'm doing what I do is for her."

Resa is the first Preparatory Charter School student to ever attend Yale University. Maldonado said this accomplishment is exceptional.

"We are currently not offering AP courses so that put him at a disadvantage compared to other students that had over a 4.0 GPA," she said. "So for him to be able to compete with kids with 4.5, 4.6s that's a huge deal for us," she said. 

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Resa said he believes his personal statement, which he poured everything he had into, is what got him into Yale. He said he opened up about things like conquering his social anxiety after he said he was bullied a lot for his appearance. 

From being raised by a single mother to dealing with social anxiety and undergoing multiple rejection letters, this Yale-bound student has advice we can all live by.

"Don't let your circumstances define who you are," Resa said. "What matters is what you think that you could do and what you believe that you could do."

Resa starts a summer program at Yale on June 24 and plans to major in mechanical engineering.

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