COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — Graduating high school and going to college is one of the most exciting things for kids.
Many from our area will go to good colleges, but one Fountain-Fort Carson senior will go to one of the most elite colleges in the country- Stanford University.
This year, they only accepted 4.7 percent of almost 44,000 applicants.
Robbie Westover is one of those lucky few.
He’s graduating with a 4.56 GPA and he scored a 33 on his ACT – which is an exceptional score – but his road to this point wasn’t an easy one.
In the 8th grade, he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. Through that, he got expelled from Fountain Middle School for having pot at school.
“It was like the changing point in my life is at that moment, because I realized that my future could potentially be over right now,” said Robbie. “This could go on my permanent record. How am I going to go to college with this? How am I going to go to college with a felony on my record? How would I get a job?”
He immediately decided to create the hardest challenge for himself – getting into Stanford.
His high school counselor wasn’t a believer right away.
“I could tell that she was like, ‘yeah, I mean, go ahead, have your dream,’” said Robbie.
Even classmates were skeptical.
“People were like, ‘oh, Stanford? How are you going to pay for that?’ and ‘no one gets accepted there,’” said Robbie.
Four years later, he got the news that he got into Stanford.
“First you’re like, ‘Ok, great! I got accepted into this amazing school,’ and then you take a step back and you’re like, ‘wow, I’m going to be around all of these amazing people. I’m going to be around the number one kid from all these other schools and what am I going to be?’ I’m going to have to actually try my hardest and actually compete,” said Robbie.
Through his journey, he has a message for other kids going through struggles.
“Our mistakes do not necessarily define us, but how we handle our mistakes is what defines us, cause I obviously made a mistake and we can’t change what the past is, however, you can change what the future is and that’s what I did,” said Robbie. “How I handled my mistake is what clearly defined me to be the person who’s going to Stanford as the valedictorian.”
Robbie doesn’t know exactly what he wants to pursue a career, but he’s going to study economics. He’s most looking forward to learning from all the other brilliant students he’ll be surrounded with.