Guyanese student picks Harvard over 19 other Ivy League schools

Kelly Hyles wearing her lab coat in the Mt. Sinai Research Laboratory.
Kelly Hyles

Seventeen-year-old Kelly Hyles is a giggly teenager, but her focus and strong determination to attend an Ivy League school, such as Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown and Columbia is an inspirational journey to which other youth should aspire.

Just recently, this brilliant student who attends High School for Math Science and Engineering in Harlem, received a Proclamation from Mayor Bill de Blasio for her remarkable achievements after migrating just six short years ago from her small Vryheid’s Lust village in Guyana – and accepted to 20 colleges to fulfill her dream of become a neurosurgeon.

“I am honored to be in the spotlight, and to use this attention to motivate as many other students as possible because it was definitely a team effort that got me to where I am today,” Hyles told this reporter at Guyana’s 50th Independence Jubilee Awards ceremony at Manhattan’s Surrogate’s Court, recently.

“It is my obligation to help others to achieve their goals,” she said, adding, “I chose Harvard University because I want to focus on bio-chemistry and neuroscience, and eventually attend medical school to become a neurosurgeon,”

The math and science buff, kick-started her career, by working many hours in the research labs at Mt. Sinai Hospital to learn of the effects of a specific genet, associated with type ll diabetes on beta cell mass, according to reports.

“I always knew where I wanted to go, and I worked very hard to get there. There will be many ups and downs, but it does not matter how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up,” were the encouraging words of Hyles who impressed upon her peers to never give up, and work towards their goals.

The A-student, whose mother, Anetta Hyles, a certified nursing assistant, works two jobs to support her, and brother, Kevon in their Brooklyn neighborhood, is the co-founder and co-president of the Black Students Union of her Math Science and Engineering High school.

Just one of a handful of black students in her senior class, Hyles said one of the goals of the student union is to encourage and show kids the way to black excellence throughout the Diaspora.

“We must change the narrative of what black kids see,” said the student who views the mainstream media “as not being positive enough towards black youth.”

For her steadfast determination to help other youth, Hyles collaborated with the DREAM program that prepares students for the Specialized High School Admissions Test. She also spent many hours mentoring students at her former Brooklyn middle school.

Recently named a Ron Brown Scholar, Hyles, who organizes regular meetings to promote black excellence, said the most rewarding is a “Blackout day” program — time to celebrate black culture — and finding parallels between seemingly different cultures, according to the student.

“I am confident that an aura of self-love will continue to reign in my school,” she articulated.

Hyles has become an academic icon, not only in the Guyanese community, but also in her high school and Brooklyn community. Just back from a world-wind tour of her homeland where she made motivational speeches to school around the country, as part of the 50th Independence Jubilee, the teen, still finds the time to enjoy her hobbies.

“ I love to dance, and I am cheer leader,” said the scholar, who choreographs dance hall and Soca pieces. She also enjoys a good dish of popular Guyanese dishes such as “Pepperpot” and “Chicken Curry.”

The Guyanese community is very proud of Kelly Hyles’ outstanding accomplishments and wishes her well on her journey towards ‘excellence.”

Kelly (right) with her mother Anetta Hyles after being interviewed on the “Steve Harvey Show.”
Kelly Hyles

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