UVA Student Achieves Dream

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

August 25, 2005

Today thousands of University of Virginia students started classes, which means late night studying, cramming for test and the anticipation of summer vacation for most. For one UVa student, he's cherishing every second that he spends on University grounds.

"So when I opened the letter the first thing I did was I jumped up in the air, said Rodney Mills, UVa 3rd Year.

It was the letter that would prove one of Rodney Mills' worst critics wrong.

"My senior year Bucknell University sent me a letter of interest and I went to [my high school guidance counselor] to see about getting a application and maybe pursuing a track scholarship at Bucknell University," said Mills. "She pretty much told me that she wasn't going to do it because she knew I wouldn't get accepted."

In high school Mills was a state championship qualifying track star. He was told by his counselor that he was better off joining the Marine Corps.

"She told me that I wasn't college material and that I wouldn't even be able to go to the community college," said Mills.

Mills took his counselor's advice and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Just one week short of completing basic training, he decided it wasn't for him.

After years working many jobs in Martinsville, Virginia, Mills decided to attend Patrick Henry Community College. There he was voted most outstanding student by faculty and he became a member of the National Dean's List.

After hearing about a program called AccessUVa, he thought about applying to the University of Virginia. Although it was past the application deadline, he applied anyway.

"I went to the post office and opened up the mailbox there I saw my diploma which I had been waiting on and up under the envelope was a letter from the university!" exclaimed Mills.

It was the letter that proved his high school counselor wrong.

Rodney is double majoring in History and African-American studies and says his first day of classes went very well. Mills also says his motivation is life, his wife, and his three beautiful children.

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