Cameron Snowden has become the first Craft Academy student to be accepted to Harvard.
Snowden was accepted into Harvard's Early Action program to study English and political science after graduating from Craft Academy, Morehead State University's resident high school, in 2021.
"It was kind of surreal. When it happened, I was just kind of in awe and I was like 'Wow, I was actually accepted,’" said Snowden, a Breathitt County native.
The 2016 presidential election sparked Snowden’s interest in politics, which led him to later research Harvard.
"I think it was the fact that it was the first time that I really paid attention to the news and current events, and I was like 'Oh, this election's happening.' I got pretty invested in the outcome and the candidates," said Snowden.
Snowden's interest in Harvard began around the eighth grade when he was encouraged by teachers to start looking at Ivy League schools.
"A lot of the teachers and staff were like 'You're really smart. You should consider these selective schools. Not a lot of people from Eastern Kentucky and our region apply to these schools and you have a good shot of getting in and doing something at one of these schools,'" said Snowden.
Being from Eastern Kentucky was one of the reasons Snowden chose to apply to Harvard despite their low acceptance rate.
"I saw it as kind of an advantage because I realized my competition wasn't necessarily on a national level. It was on a regional level, and because they don't get a lot of applicants from my area, it would be pretty easy for me to stand out," said Snowden.
This year, Harvard accepted 747 of their 10, 086 Early Action applicants.
Snowden believes students should not sell themselves short who want to apply to an Ivy League college but think their region is a disadvantage.
“They might be like ‘Oh, they’re never going to take someone from Breathitt County, the hills of Eastern Kentucky,’ when it’s honestly quite the opposite,” said Snowden. “If you can show that you’re just as competent as the people from these densely populated areas, then in most cases these schools would rather have someone from an area that a large section of the student body isn’t from.”