"I knew she was going to miss out on so many parts of my life," the teenager said. But this was something she could involve her mother in, so she took her laptop to the cemetery.
For Skylar Hughes, getting accepted into Duke University has been something she had been dreaming of for years now. But when the letter from the university finally arrived, the teenager still waited for 16 more hours before finally opening it. She wanted to make sure her mother was with her at the time, even if it meant reading the letter by her grave.
"I was very nervous when I opened it and I knew I wanted to open it with my mom at my mom’s grave," said Skylar, as quoted by Gwinnett Daily Post. "But at 7 p.m. (Friday), it was pitch-black outside, so I decided to wait until the next morning and we got up early and drove down there and even then it took me another 10 minutes to click the button, because I was so nervous."
Ever since Rasheda Hughes passed away in 2016, Skylar has found ways to keep her mother's memory alive in her life. "I probably go there once every week or once every two weeks," the teenager told WRAL. "I bring lunch out there, and I just like catch her up to my life because I know she would want to be involved."
Although Skylar knows there are things her mother will never get to be a part of, this was something she wanted to include her in. "I knew my mother wasn’t going to see me in my wedding dress and she wasn’t going to see me at homecoming or when I graduated eighth grade," she told Gwinnett Daily Post. "She couldn’t come to my (ballet) performances or anything like that... It was difficult because I knew she was going to miss out on so many parts of my life and I knew she’d hate that. I could be mobile with this, so I took my computer to the cemetery."
In the lead up to opening the email from Duke's admissions office, Skylar tried not to get too excited because of the competitive admission process. When the moment finally came for her to open the email at the gravesite with her father beside her, she could feel the nerves.
"Before I opened it, me and my dad and my mom, we just all prayed," the 17-year-old told WRAL. "I felt like my nerves were heightened because I felt like she was nervous with me. I was nervous to open it, but I wasn’t really nervous to let her down because I knew she would be proud of me regardless. When I clicked the button and saw the blue streamers, I was like, hold on, did I just get in? It was the best feeling in the world. I was so proud of myself. All my hard work and sacrifices paid off, and it just made me really happy."
High School Senior Opens College Acceptance Letter at Mom's Grave: 'She Would Want to Be Involved' https://t.co/lgsQAXxgwH— People (@people) January 5, 2021
As she plans to major in marine science and conservation, Skylar can now see through a dream that she has been imagining for herself for a long time. "I have Duke posters in my room and Duke memorabilia and I’ve toured the campus, so it’s my dream school," she said, according to Gwinnett Daily Post.
Although the acceptance letter is a big step towards realizing her dream, Skylar is still figuring ways to manage her expenses. Her family set up a GoFundMe page to support her with tuition and fees for the four-year journey at Duke University.
Hoping to raise enough money so she can pursue her college degree at the university, Skylar told WRAL, "It’s my No. 1 school, so I’m just staying positive, and I’m going to hopefully get scholarships."