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Hot Springs senior offered $4.5M in college scholarships

With Harvard, Yale, Columbia and multiple other prestigious schools knocking at her door, Hot Springs senior Marlissa Archie has a big decision to make.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — With 16 prestigious universities knocking on her door, one Hot Springs senior has a big decision to make, and you won’t believe how much money these colleges want to invest in her future.

Walking the same halls as former President Bill Clinton, Hot Springs World Class High School Senior Marlissa Archie is following the same blueprint to success.

“I always knew what my goal was,” Archie said. “I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to impact the place I was and the people I was around.

With over $4.5 million offered in scholarships, Marlissa has a huge decision to make in the coming weeks to accomplish that goal.

“So my top schools right now, I have Harvard, Yale, Columbia, U-Chicago and Pomona,” Archie Said. “Yale is offering me a full ride and Harvard’s is very close to a full ride.”

But for Marlissa, choosing her dream school is not just about the academics. 

“I have Beta Club, National Honors Society, Interact Club, Student Council.. those are a few,” Archie said. “I’ve done dance throughout the years and I’m an IB Diploma candidate.”

The list goes on and Marlissa is leaving some of her teachers speechless. 

 “She is unlike any student I’ve ever met,” Teacher Cassie Jay-Barrow said. “And it really is, I think because she’s very grounded and knows what she wants and is willing to do anything to get it.”

By any means necessary, with a drive and determination like no other.

“Being in government, and being apart of our nation’s prime resource for legislation and acts, and being the people who decide your country and being the lawmaker, has been something I’ve wanted since I can first remember,” Marlissa said. I didn’t really have another career path I wanted to take.”

Marilssa sees herself as being a future leader of Arkansas, with plans to become a criminal defense attorney and specialize in human rights law — eventually moving on to the political world. 

For any student wanting to follow in Marlissa, she’s got one piece of advice. 

“Growing up in Arkansas, that has persuaded that a lot,” Marlissa said. “Government, you know, has impactful, especially as a person of color within this state. So, just being an advocate and a voice for people like me and people unlike me and just everyone as a whole and being able to be a representation that there is hope. There is a light and we are moving forward. That is really special to me and that’s something I’ve wanted since I can first remember. “

For any student wanting to follow in Marlissa, she’s got one piece of advice. 

“Stay authentic,” she said. “Be who you are. It’s not always easy, but it’s a beautiful journey and it’s a journey that’s worth taking. So if you feel the struggle now, you feel the hurt now, just keep going because it’s really worth it. I’ve been there, it’s been hard, but I’m very grateful for where I am. I just want to tell that it’s worth it and that they can do it. I believe in them and everyone else believes in them.

Marlissa will make her decision on which school she will attend on Monday, May 2.