Hard Work Pays Off: Senior Zuri Vallery Headed to MIT


Senior Zuri Vallery gears up (in her MIT gear) to face the end of her high school year and embrace the beginning of her college career.

Being accepted to one of the best colleges in the country is an impressive and unique achievement for students nationwide. Zuri Vallery has contributed to North Atlanta history by being one of the first Dubs to enroll at Massachusetts Insititute of Technology (MIT). MIT is a highly selective, very eccentric university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The admissions process at MIT is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of 3.9%; the school is ranked #2 among the best universities in the nation. This accomplishment highlights Vallery’s dedication and hard work – all of the North Atlanta Community congratulates her.

Growing up in Atlanta, Vallery attended Sarah Smith Elementary School and then Sutton Middle School, much like many of her peers. She then headed on to NAHS, where she soon learned the rigor of the IB program. Junior year she struggled with many assignments and deadlines, but she persevered and learned the best way to keep herself going. “Now that I limit distractions, I work much quicker while maintaining quality. As a result, I am rarely up later than 11 PM,” said Vallery. “A student I met at MIT told me there is a gap between IB and non-IB students as IB students can adjust to the MIT workload much quicker.”

A balanced high school experience comes with prioritizing what matters most to Vallery. While still making time for friends and family, Vallery allocated much time to her internship at MathCorps as a teacher’s assistant and mentor for black female 8th graders. Despite her many awards and involvement in clubs, Vallery believes this internship is what helped her excel as an applicant. “MIT receives a lot of applicants who are excellent at STEM, but I read that they really like when people share their knowledge to help their community,” said Vallery. “MIT emphasizes collaboration which my experience at MathCorps demonstrated.”

Vallery chose to keep her options open when it came to college as it helped her do what felt best to her in high school rather than what she thought colleges wanted. Her acceptance letter from MIT came out on December 17th, 2022, at 12:17pm. Instead of dancing or crying when she saw the confetti on her screen, Vallery was so shocked she couldn’t move. With this acceptance comes a very bright future for Vallery at MIT. “I’m majoring in Computational Biology and plan to become an invasive cardiologist in the future,” said Vallery. “Even though I’m going into medicine, I have always loved STEM, so I don’t want to let my math abilities go immediately.”

While her days at North Atlanta are coming to a close, she plans to make the most of the rest of her high school experience with her friends while continuing to work hard. The Dubs wish her all the best in her academic journey. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you, Zuri!