Two seniors at a New Jersey high school who have been best friends for years were accepted to multiple Ivy League schools together.
Clifton Public Schools in Passaic County said Ashley Hernandez and Mariam Mufleh not only overcame the challenges of the pandemic but they're also the first in their family to attend college. Both were accepted to Harvard, Yale, Penn, Dartmouth and Brown.
After the two young women met seven years ago at Christopher Columbus Middle School Honors Program, they became "inseparable" and they both participated in several extracurriculars including volunteering, played in the school orchestra, served on the student council and created a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, according to the school.
With acceptance to Ivy League schools and then some, Hernandez plans to study political science and Mufleh plans to study physics Pre-Med. They say their parents are extremely proud.
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"Being able to attend a higher-level institution and make my immigrant parents proud has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I owe everything I have now to their sacrifices and support," Mufleh said.
The two best friends say they attribute their accomplishments to each other, their family and a supportive school environment.
While they're still aren't sure which college they will attend, or if they'll attend the same school, they believe their friendship won't be impacted.
"Around nine hours of my day are spent Face-Timing Ash, and I am sure the same will be the case even if we are miles apart from each other. Unfortunately, Ashley Hernandez is not getting rid of me anytime soon," said Mufleh.
"Mariam has been my shoulder to lean on in times of difficulty, and she has also been my personal cheerleader in times of celebration, and I can't imagine going off to college without her by my side," Hernandez added.
This story has been corrected to reflect an update from Clifton Public Schools, clarifying that the two students did not get into all of the Ivy League schools.