By Andrea Cordle
Imagine being a high school student who has been accepted to a prestigious institution like Harvard or Yale. It’s not often that one student receives an offer from both schools, but Allison Hammer is the exception. She was offered a full scholarship to not one or two, but multiple Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown.
Hammer is a Grove City resident, but attended Franklin Heights High School, where she was the 2016 valedictorian.
“To be offered a scholarship to so many prestigious schools is just unheard of,” said Katie Emswiler, the Franklin Heights guidance counselor. “The district should be proud of her.”
Hammer said she didn’t have the goal to attend an Ivy League school, but decided to apply to see what would happen.
“If I can, why not,” said Hammer.
The valedictorian said she applied to numerous schools. Not only did Hammer receive full scholarship offers from the Ivy League institutions, but also from schools like The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Case Western, Northwestern, Duke and Amherst to name a few.
“I spent my winter break applying to a lot of schools,” said Hammer.
This past spring, Hammer spent her time touring the schools.
According to Emswiler, Hammer orchestrated all the visits on her own. Because her family does not have the extra funds to send Hammer off to visit all these institutions, the Franklin Heights student simply called each university she wanted to tour and asked what they could do.
“She took it all upon herself,” said Emswiler. “She is never afraid to just ask.”
Ask and you shall receive. The schools offered to pay for her visit.
After touring the schools and a lot of thought, Hammer decided to attend Yale.
“It didn’t feel 100 percent right to go to Yale, but it felt 100 percent wrong not to go to Yale,” said Hammer.
Hammer said she took part in the QuestBridge program, which is a national non-profit group that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities.
According to QuestBridge, many low income students do not even apply to selective universities. It aims to increase the percentage of lower income students attending the nation’s best colleges.
“Ally wanted a top notch education,” said Emswiler. “She wanted the full college experience.”
Hammer took AP courses all through high school. She was on the student council and was president of the National Honor Society. She said her parents did not push her, she pushed herself.
“I figured if I can get the best grades I can, good stuff will happen,” she said.
In addition to her academic work, Hammer played French horn in the school’s band.
“I love music,” said Hammer. “It’s really an escape for me.”
Hammer plans to perform in the band at Yale.
Although she is not yet certain of her major, she plans to take courses in math, science and engineering.
“I will just see what I like then see what happens,” said Hammer.
This summer, Hammer will take part in a five-week program at Yale that helps incoming freshmen adjust to college life. The university only offers the program to 60 students.
Emswiler has been an educator for more than 20 years and has been a counselor at Franklin Heights for 12 years.
“Ally is the hardest working kid I’ve ever met,” said Emswiler. “She is always motivated and always organized. People should be inspired by her.”
Hammer believes her time at Franklin Heights has helped to prepare her for Yale.
“The diversity of the students in the school shaped my perspective,” said Hammer. “I am more prepared for the world.”
Hammer had a message for her fellow students at Franklin Heights, where many of the students come from low income families.
“You may feel disadvantaged, but you can do this.”