By Sarah Krueger, WRAL Durham reporter
Durham, N.C. — A Georgia teen whose video of opening her Duke University acceptance missive astatine her mother's grave went viral past twelvemonth overcame fiscal obstacles and is halfway done her archetypal semester successful Durham.
"It was conscionable specified an outpour of enactment from my assemblage and radical I had ne'er adjacent met successful existent life," Skylar Hughes said Wednesday.
People who saw the video connected societal media, mostly strangers, chipped successful to a GoFundMe relationship that raised astir $80,000.
"I got a assistance from Ellen DeGeneres," Hughes said, "and I applied to, like, 70 extracurricular scholarships. I got, like, $30,000 worthy of scholarships from that."
Hughes was 11 erstwhile her mother, Rasheda Hughes, suffered a encephalon aneurysm and fell into a coma successful 2015. She died the pursuing year.
Hughes said she is thriving astatine Duke, loving the campus, her classes, her clubs and her friends.
"I similar however inclusive Duke is," she said. "I was truly disquieted coming here, particularly arsenic a Black woman, but determination are truthful galore opportunities for each azygous community."
She said she inactive lives each time for her mother, who was a fierce advocator for education.
"Every time erstwhile I aftermath up, I effort to deliberation what would she do, however would she act, effort to beryllium mindful and effort to unrecorded up to the pistillate that she was," she said. "She’s conscionable specified a motivator for me. She’s been gone for truthful agelong now, but I inactive larn thing from her each azygous day."
When she lived successful Georgia, Hughes would sojourn her mom's sedate each week. Although that's not imaginable now, she said her transportation to her parent has lone gotten stronger.
"As I’ve matured since I’ve been successful college, I’ve realized it’s much of a spiritual connection, and I don’t request the carnal tombstone oregon the carnal reminder of her to inactive beryllium connected," she said.
Still, she has touchstones, specified arsenic a photograph collage of her parent connected the partition of her dorm country and flash cards with affirmations her parent had written.
Hughes said she often felt unsocial arsenic she navigated her grief, but she said has ne'er felt much supported than the past respective months.
"I’m inactive successful daze that radical cared astir my communicative that much. It warms my heart," she said. "Having each these radical amusement enactment for me, I conscionable consciousness truthful grateful."