COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus City Schools high school senior who spent the first 10 years of her life at a refugee camp in Uganda is graduating at the top of her class.
Julianne Lukambo was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa.
"Due to the ongoing war, we had to move to Uganda as refugees, so that's where I spent most of my childhood," she told 10TV.
Now, she's ending her senior year as valedictorian with $240,000 in college scholarships.
"I was kind of surprised because I wasn't like keeping count of the amount, but I think first of all I did keep my grades up throughout my entire time in high school. That's something that helped me a lot. And also, I would say getting involved, networking, and branching out. It really helps you a lot with getting recommendations and having them [teachers] recommend you for different scholarships," she said.
Northland’s senior class, currently, has earned $5.6 million in scholarships. In total, so far, Columbus City Schools seniors have earned $33,172,272.00 in scholarship and aid money. Lukambo is among the top 50 earners.
"Overcoming the adversity that I have had to overcome to reach where I am today has been a real challenging journey, and I would say that from coming from where I'm from, to here now, I would've never expected it, so overcoming all of that is something I'm really grateful for and proud of," she said.
Lukambo plans to attend the University of Dayton majoring in computer science.