McAlester High School valedictorian accepted to Brown University

Carly Mills

Carly Mills offered advice to her fellow classmates in the form of poetry.

“Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing; That ‘cannot be done,’ and you’ll do it,” the McAlester High School 2019 valedictorian read from Edgar Guest’s “It Couldn’t Be Done” during the school’s senior assembly Monday.

Mills will tackle something a select few have done in her plans to attend Brown University — and she got a full-ride scholarship to the Ivy League school through the Brown University Questbridge National College Match Scholarship.

“I feel real honored and appreciated,” said Mills, who has a grade point average of 4.56.

The Providence, Rhode Island-based school is the seventh-oldest college in the country and offers degrees in more than 80 concentrations.

Only 7.7% of applicants are admitted to Brown and 96% of the students were in the top 10% of their high school classes.

The college’s open curriculum allows students to follow their interests without the restriction of core requirements.

Mills said she has yet to pick a concentration, but her top three include physics, astronomy, and environmental science.

She believes the open curriculum at Brown will allow her time to decide which path to take — and although she didn’t want to until recently, she might even become an educator.

“Last year I volunteered for a summer school and I kind of started to enjoy being around kids,” Mills said. “So I might want to become a teacher or professor because I kind of feel at home teaching people to do things.”

Mills is the daughter of Darrel Mills and Nancy Mills, and the granddaughter of June Mills, Rebecca Schorr, and John Haile.

She participated in band choir, mock trial, academic team, and history club at Mcaleser. She was part of the school productions of "Bye Bye Birdie," "Montage of the Years," Murder at the Banquet, and more.

Mills said she is excited to attend Brown University and will spend the summer with family and friends before moving to Rhode Island.

She also earned distinction as an Oklahoma Academic Scholar and was awarded several scholarships.

Other scholarships Mills was awarded include Academic All-State Award ($1,000), Puterbaugh Mock Trial Scholarship ($750), The Gates Scholarship ($15,000), Carl Albert Award for Valedictorian ($100), Irma Combs Culp Memorial Scholarship ($1,000), and Oklahoma’s Promise Award (up to $20,000).

So what’s the key to success in the classroom?

“I would encourage all the underclassmen to try to figure out what it is they like to do that they’re passionate about,” Mills said.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at