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Need to succeed
Berry Academy’s Scott driven to achieve
Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014
by Herb White

Phillip Academy's Thea Scott is CPF's 2014 Top Senior.
photo by Paul Williams

Thea Scott goes all out in everything she does.

The Post’s Top Senior of the Year is valedictorian at Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology with a 5.2 grade point average. Since middle school, Scott has pursued academic success based on a simple credo: make no excuses.

‘”The motto has pushed me to strive for excellence and not use any excuse that might hinder my drive or motivation,’” she said.

‘”Thea is unique,’” said Lori Martinez, Scott’s guidance counselor at Berry Academy. ‘”She is a young woman who embodies every quality you would look for in not only a brilliant scholar but a future leader.’”

Scott doesn’t let her personal circumstances get between herself and success. Aware of statistics that suggest children from single-parent homes have a higher possibility of failure, Scott uses it as motivation to defy the odds.

‘”That might deter some people, but I always look at things like that as a reason for me to push harder,’” she said. ‘”Being a young female who wants to be an engineer and also being black many people might doubt my success but I stress to look past the hindering factors. I don’t look at an excuse. I look at it as a reason to stress to be excellent.’”

Scott’s days are packed, even when she’s away from school. In addition to extracurricular activities such as the National Honor Society, she volunteers at homeless shelters and is an intern at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. There are only so many hours in a day, but Scott makes a point of using them to help others.

‘”The balance comes with time management,’” she said. ‘”I know I have certain obligations and certain duties I need to fulfill, so I stay focused when I’m at school and get as much work done as possible.’” 

Scott’s mother, Andrea Jones, makes sure she gets wherever she needs to go as well as provide the tools necessary to succeed. In a way, they’re partners in achievement.

‘”I love that kid,’” Jones said. ‘”She inspires me and motivates me. Everyone we’ve met know I’ll take my whole day and construct it around her to make sure she’s where she needs to be. I’m there for her, 110 percent.’”

That attitude started early for Scott, where Jones and an elementary school teacher in Connecticut both emphasized a can-do approach.

‘”She started out in private school and one of the lessons at that age was no shortcuts, no excuses,’” Jones said. ‘”I told her my expectations and even at that tender age she had the maturity where she understood.’”

Those expectations are evident for Scott, an aspiring environmental engineer major with a 5.2 grade point average. Her professional goal is to build sustainable communities around the world.

‘”I always knew what I wanted to be,’” she said. ‘”Going into Philip O. Berry as a freshman I wanted to be an engineer and I at the time I was looking at the best universities I could get into I always had that focus and I never let anything distract me.’”

That drive impresses Martinez, who says Scott’s potential is limitless.

‘”Thea has a passion for environmental engineering,’” Martinez said. ‘”Engineering itself is a field that we want to see more female students going into and she excels. Our engineering classes have material that students usually don’t get to access until college and Thea has excelled in this very demanding material. She wants to help people in need, not only in this country but in other countries.’”

Scott had her choices of elite colleges to choose from before deciding on Rice University in Houston, Texas over Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was most impressed by Rice’s emphasis on undergraduate engineering and research as well as its academic community.

‘”Rice and MIT both have strong engineering programs, but Rice has a residential system that’s similar to the residential system at Oxford University, which means I’ll be placed in a specific college which is where the students live,’” Scott said. ‘”It’s a little smaller as well, so I’ll have a more intimate view as I advance in my engineering degree and I’ll have a closer relationship with my teachers.

‘”Also, the weather was a consideration. It’s a lot warmer in Houston. It gets cold in Boston.’”


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