Getting accepted into college is no easy feat; it's an accomplishment worth celebrating. But one Highline School District student's celebration is now going viral.
"I've been dreaming about Stanford and Harvard since about the seventh grade," said Abel Berhan, a senior at Evergreen High School.
Berhan has worked hard since then, overcoming many challenges as a first generation Ethiopian American to give back to his community.
"Service is a really important thing to me, helping build my community, continuing to help empower others," said Berhan. "Service is a big part of what I am and what I do."
Berhan is active in track and currently serves as ASB president, where he and his leadership class focuses on creating the best environment and experience for students at Evergreen.
"I feel like our leadership class and a lot of the work that we do is really trying to address different issues, such as race, equity - issues that typical adults don't always talk about or it may make them uncomfortable," he said.
As a student activist, he's involved in several organizations outside of school that empower youth, such as Youth Speaks, which involves youth and spoken word poetry. Last month, he organized local students to participate in the March For Our Lives demonstrations.
"One of the things I was really happy about is we partnered with our middle school Cascade. That was really exciting to see seventh and eighth graders so passionate about issues like gun control. It was really a good opportunity to work with them and kind of voice our opinion and express our disapproval of the gun violence," he said.
So after a long process of applying to Harvard and several other colleges, Berhan learned Friday if his dream came true.
"I told some of my friends, okay my Harvard admission notification is coming out at 4 p.m. I really want to open it up with all of you guys and I want to take a video to capture the moment. But I also told them for whatever reason it's not great news, we're going to delete the video and forget about it," smiled Berhan.
"A lot of my track buddies got together in the locker room. I took out my laptop and signed in. I was really nervous. I couldn't open it myself. I asked one of them, please open it for me. And all of them started screaming."
Abel shared the good news with school staff, and Highline School District Superintendent Susan Enfield posted the video on Twitter.
We shared this on Friday but it’s so worth sharing again. Start your Monday with a smile by watching @EHSWolverines senior Abel learn of his acceptance to @Harvard. #HighlineProud #GraduateHighline @HighlineSchools @GradHighline pic.twitter.com/EHsq4I8Czt— Susan Enfield (@SuptEnfield) April 2, 2018
Berhan said it was a significant moment for him after years of hard work and support from many people.
"Showing the community that it doesn't matter where you come from. If you have a dream, you work hard and you find people to support you, you can reach those dreams. I'm just happy to share my joy with others as well," he said.
Not only did Berhan get accepted into Harvard - he was accepted into Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania as well. Now he has a different challenge to face.
"My debate is between Harvard and Stanford and both of them are amazing institutions. I plan to hopefully study public policy or government and minor in economics," said Berhan. "Harvard is going to be flying me out in April as well as Stanford. And so at this point, I want to kind of feel the vibe at the schools and interact with students and see if it's somewhere that I can call home, somewhere where I can see myself the next four years."