black women

Amazing: 14 year old girl set to graduate College with a 3.9 GPA

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by Britt L

Yes, you’ve read the title correctly. A 14 year old girl is graduating from COLLEGE. Young  Thessalonika Arzu-Embry, who lives on the Great Lakes Naval Base, will be graduating from Chicago State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Thessalonika actually started college at the age of 11 at the College of Lake County. She will end next month with the degree from Chicago State.  With all of the talk about kids in Chicago not being prepared to succeed, this young lady is showing that there is a great deal of brilliance right in the heart of the south side of the city.

Thessalonika doesn’t attend regular high school like every other freshman her age. She actually wakes up early with her mother, Wonder Embry, and makes the commute from home at the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago to Chicago State on the South Side of the city. On the way to school, Thessalonika and her mother study theory and talk about homework assignments.

Thessalonika dedicates all of her hard work to her mother, who keeps her motivated.

“My mother is a strong inspiration to my success. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, and when she finished her tour, she home-schooled my brother and I”.

Wonder Embry adds that she was just doing right by her daughter.

“The parents are the most influential force in their own children’s lives, and they have the power to influence them to do good and to go forward,” she said.

Embry was home-schooled until she was eight and received the equivalent of a high school diploma. Passing an entrance exam, she got into the College of Lake County and enrolled to study psychology.

Embry carries a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the College of Lake County Honors program and enjoys studying unlike any other kid her age.

Thessalonika plans to continue her studies at a graduate program for clinical psychology at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a private college in North Chicago, or she may also attend Stanford University.

Embry is set to graduate August 30th.  Wish her luck!

Thessalonika’s story reminds us that with hard work, family support and faith, you can do practically anything. Your age doesn’t define your intelligence or abilities. Never underestimate your potential.

Britt L is a recent high school graduate from the south side of Chicago.  She plans to attend Eastern Illinois University this fall to study Journalism. 


  1. Harlan Pratt

    July 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Victor Trammell, a 14 year old graduating from college is more than “dandy” as you put it. That is awesome and maybe never heard of. Very true, she does need to experience childhood and who says she won’t or she hasn’t? Where are the “congrats” and praises for this young woman? Many, many children of her age don’t bother about school..period!!! We hardly hear of young, black kids doing great things but we always here of them doing wrong things. I thought people would have great things to say about this. All you have to say is “fine” and “dandy” and talk about her childhood and maturing?
    Sounds like a lot of jealousy to me!

    • fred sims

      July 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Martin Luther King started college at 15.

      • Meghann

        August 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        True and he was GREAT! But so were all of the other men and women who fought for civil rights. It is sad the only civil rights leader most African-Americans know is MLK Jr. Pick up a book or research the internet and become enlightened and also give this young lady the honor she deserves.

    • Cal

      July 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      Victor, there’s always time for “life experiences” but when the door of learning is open, we need to learn to walk through it. Forget about the trifling proms, homecoming, cheerleading, basketball games, and sleepovers. It’s disappointing that you would knock an awesome achievement such as hers as contrary to living when the average person uses less than 5 percent of their brain! BTW, what were you doing at 14 years old? You may have graduated from college but you certainly didn’t learn much!

    • Donecia McGee

      September 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      I totally agree with those who want just to lift her up and praise her.I wish we cld jst be happy for our young children who make it in life. Congratulations to Wonder and Thessalonika Embry for all your going to do in ur lives in the future.
      Happy for your daughter,
      Donecia McGee

  2. Chryll D. Crews

    July 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Slow down, what’s the rush? And get out of Chicago before you ‘re accidentally shot!

    • Mavis

      July 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

      If you are in this world, you watch your back, because you never know when you may get shot, hit by a car, robbed, smacked in the face, stabbed in the back, or get raped….etc…. The list goes on so watch how you live in this world too. Look behind you NOw!!!1

    • Dee

      July 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

      You can be “accidentally” shot in Newtown.

  3. Harlan Pratt

    July 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Matthew Linsdeau- VERY WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Earl

    July 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Go girl, I’m sure Momma has also made it possible for you to do those things that will give you a good balance as you mature into the fine adult you will be….Power to you and Mamma…

  5. W Lyons

    July 16, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Congratulation, young lady!

  6. Sharon Kirk

    July 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Keep up the good work, congratulation. I am sure there r others like u

  7. Poetee

    July 17, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Great news to here!

  8. Dorothy

    July 17, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Congratulations. You have worked hard and it has paid off. Keep the good work up. Do not allow negative comments to break your heart. Continue to pursue your dreams. I pray that God will continue to guide and direct your path. I pray for strength and inner peace for you and your mother. Great job!

    • Mavis

      July 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Amen Dorothy. We need to uplift our people. We forget that when we put each other down we give them what they are looking for and no matter what, we just fail to understand that when we put one another down it makes us all as a whole look bad.

  9. Dimitrios Machairidis

    July 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

    How come her name is Thessalonika? I was born in Thessaloniki, the Greek city, this is why I am asking for.

  10. fred sims

    July 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Ok when does her CD drop or when does her reality show begin? So what if she’s going to college can she twirk?

    • carol

      July 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      @ Fred Sims… I didnt see shit in the article bout her singing, dancing etc. How steretypical of you to play on her intelligence. Wth is wrong with you? I proud n happy for her n her family.
      Another black child has gotten an education the best way possible that fit her lifestyle. You dont have to like it.
      Are you mad that she may be more intelligent than your puny ass brain? Hell you sound perverted talking all that shit about twerking. Get an education!

  11. Jackie

    July 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Fantastic job for both mother and child Home schooling does not mean that a person has separated themselves or their children from the world, its just a different means of educating. I applaud you both

  12. Jackie

    July 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Founded in 315 B.C., the provincial capital and sea port of Thessalonika was one
    of the first bases for the spread of Christianity.

    • Mike C. Okereke

      August 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      That is not what we are talking about here.

  13. Marilyn

    July 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I teach high school math at a homeschool cooperative. I don’t teach black kids, white kids, kids from Mexico, India, or Russia — I just teach kids. I love them all the same, teach them all the same, and they all get along the way it should be. Well socialized kids — in groups and cliques, yes, but based on personalities and common interests, not color of hair, skin, or ethnic origin. I commend this young lady and her family. I have homeschooled my own children for 19 years, as well as taught other home-schooled kids; it is not an easy task. It takes a great deal of sacrifice on the part of the parents and a great deal of cooperation on the part of the children. I would say that after sitting in college classrooms for several years, this young lady is very much aware of the world around her and ready to embrace it with open arms.

  14. Brandon Adger

    July 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    She still gotta wait till 18 to get a job

    • Pam

      August 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Maybe she can do her Master’s Degree while she is waiting for her first job? Bravo!!

  15. Sara

    July 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    This is amazing! Thessalonika, I’m so proud of you! I hope you go on to do great things. It’s great to see a mom so dedicated to her children’s success. Congrats to them both!

  16. Jackie

    July 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    By 18 she will have her Master’s and hopefully be working on her PHD

  17. VEE

    July 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm


  18. deloris

    July 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Other kids do the same thing that she is doing. She got her head wrapped on right. It is brains that take your where you want to go not brawns. Who said that she is lacking in social skills.

    There is church, dances, parties, art, girl scouts and other things that she might be interested in. Get the whole story first. But just the fact that she has gotten this far as a 14 year old is amazing. Some of her friends should be by her side.

    • Jackie

      July 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm


  19. kimberly

    July 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    OK. Outside of all the nonsense. This is wonderful! No negative comments. No “buts” …This is grate. Congratulations to this young lady. Esperanza Spalding had a similar background and she is a well rounded young lady. Many more of our black families could definitely look into this. Many of our public schools today cannot even begin to tap into the genius and brilliance of many of these minds. This girl is brilliant and I’m proud of her.

  20. Charlotte Harper

    July 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    What a remarkable young lady. There are no words to describe this kind of achievement at such an early age. Mom, your leadership was truly in the right place. Thessalonika, a job well done. Keep up the good work!!!

  21. Yancy

    July 18, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I’m proud of you kid…..i want you to knw that nothing got power than the MIND…I pray that the same God that start it will definitely end it…I Love you Kid…

  22. fred sims

    July 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

    No hate here only pride and a Little envy.I cannot home school my girls.My wife and I must work. They are in a good school system. Good in that one can earn two years of college while in high school.My girls have been in advanced placement since the third grade. The problem is they are often the only black kids in those classes. The peer pressure here in university hts is amazing. Many of the teens seem to equate being black with being a thug wannabe..At a school assembly most of them didn’t know to stand for “lift Every Voice and Sing”. Nor did many of thier parents. We need so many more parents and scholars like this young lady and her mother.

  23. Paola

    July 21, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Excellent job! I have four daughter pass me the recipe.Congrats!!!!!

  24. Jessica Gray

    July 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Congrats to you young lady I wish all our black children would have the same smarts.

  25. Marie Mc

    July 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Come on guys lets stop the bickering and celebrate the great achievement for this young girl and wuch the best…God has created this world,, Chicago is not the only place on earth you hear gun fire its all over the world. There is nothing wrong with the place you luve in is the people that luves in it that makes it bad.

  26. Cal

    July 22, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    The number of ignorant responses to this article is baffling! Not only are most people illiterate but those that are literate can’t critically respond to what they’re reading! Leave it to black folks to find the bottom!

  27. Marie

    July 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    What a great blessing to hear such wonderful news! I pray you continue to Excel. As my mother use to say: it’s alright to get an education or whatever your dreams may be; however, just take the Lord along with you.

  28. Mike C. Okereke

    August 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Miss Thessalonaika,
    Good luck; and please stay the course.

  29. Earaina Bey

    August 27, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Congratulation !!! God have given you a gift.This took a lot of hard work, plenty of sacrifice,long hours of study, and not being around peers your own age, but this is the path I hope was your own choice. Slow down,relax, and breathe a little and enjoy being a child. You can do it as you see just don’t burn yourself out because this can happen. This is great news to hear with all the killing of the young people of today. Keep reaching for the stars with the help of God. It’s nice but this is only the beginning remember relax, breathe, and be a child because you can never get another chance. God bless and keep you in his care.

  30. gnwalker

    August 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Here we go again! Like I have posted many times before, the words of Willy Lynch, who advised slave owners, if you keep the blacks divided, you will control them for five hundred years. Why couldn’t we all be proud of this young ladies achievement? Why so much negativity? If it was a story about the failures of a black child, we would be reading about it being caused by the oppressive action of white people(which exist),so why not celebrate such high achievement by this wonderful teenager. I congratulate her and her parents,you all make me proud.Thank you,thank you, thank you!!!!!

    One Love!!!!!

  31. s'ann

    December 15, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Congratulations are in order to Thessalonika and her mother. I stand corrected on a previous post on homeschooling.

  32. F Walker

    December 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Congrats young lady!!! Don’t forget to experience a little life along the way. I am proud of her and to her a mother, from one veteran to another, thank you for your service!

  33. Kim Cox

    June 1, 2014 at 3:25 am

    I wish you the best of luck on your success as an African American, shoot for the stars, you are a true inspiration to even an old gal like me!!!!

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  35. Shona

    July 6, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Wow l must say what an honour to read about such an outstanding young lady who wanted to excel in her studys. I congratulate you Thessalonika for begin a bright young lady who is beyond the norm of your peers. Take a bow for you are a genius beyond your years and the best is yet to come for you. Take a bow dad and mom you did well. God bless you all as you continue to instill your kids with values morals and most of all the word of God. Be blessed.

  36. Mona Lisa Harding

    July 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Thank God for homeschooling! I hope that all of the readers will be inspired to try it. Average parents with average kids like us can get the same great results too. We have 10 kids and the oldest 7 started college by age 12 🙂

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