Aya Osman, an 18-year-old African American girl from Orange Park, Florida, who has been battling cancer for the past two years, has graduated from Summa Cum Laude. She has also been given a full scholarship to NYU.
Osman had wanted to be a neurologist since she was 12 years old. When she was diagnosed with cancer, it was almost put on pause. But, rather than obsessing on the future, she kept focused on the present, taking life one step at a time.
To eradicate the tumor in her arm, she had six months of chemotherapy sessions every three weeks, including three-day hospital stays. Regardless, she refused to let disease control her life and kept herself occupied with studies and other hobbies.
“It helped to distract yourself, and no matter what it may be, whether it was piano or schoolwork,” Osman told Clay Today. “It definitely helps curb the side effects of such a great diagnosis. It helps keep put your mind at ease and keeps you focused about something else.”
Throughout her treatment, her mother brought her a laptop to the hospital, ensuring she could keep up with her studies. She diligently maintained her International Baccalaureate schedule while doctors monitored her progress.
“I did everything on my laptop,” Aya said. “So you know, I was laying down on my hospital bed and the nurses would come in checking heart rate, checking my temperature and whatnot. While I would be rushing to finish an essay for IB history or English or having the distraction of schoolwork, to be able to focus on something else really helped.”
Her hard work and determination paid off as she earned Summa Cum Laude from Ridgeview High School with a 4.77 GPA.
She was also given a scholarship to attend New York University, thanks to the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing financial and emotional support to children with cancer.
Aya, who is now cancer-free and in remission for two years, plans to major in biology at New York University with the scholarship.