"With each school, I was more and more in shock.”

By Meghan Overdeep
April 22, 2020
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Craig McFarland has a very difficult decision to make—not that he’s complaining.

The senior at Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville, Florida, was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools. That includes Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth, and Cornell.

"With each school, I was more and more in shock," McFarland told First Coast News.

The valedictorian of his class sporting a 4.98 GPA, he hasn’t gotten a single "B" since he's been in high school.

McFarland’s mother, Donabel Santiago, is an immigrant. She raised him and his two siblings as a single mom and made education a priority for the family.

Santiago told First Coast News that McFarland showed a strong initiative as a young child.

"I'm very proud of him," Santiago said. “I'm just so thankful.  I'm just so happy."

Craig McFarland

While McFarland is proud of his accomplishments, the teen also cherishes the fact that he has lived a well-rounded life.  "I'm way more proud that I can say that I had sleepovers at my house and that I've laughed and played video games with friends," he told the local news station. "I'm very proud that I can eat 86 pieces of sushi."

McFarland plans to go into either medicine or law and make a positive change in the world. He was fortunate to have received or qualified for a full-ride scholarship to virtually all of them, “so it's more of a matter of which school will make me feel most at home,” he tells Southern Living of his impending decision, made harder by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I've never been anywhere in the United States outside of Florida: everything I know has been in Jacksonville—friends, family, memories—and my acceptance into schools like Stanford and Yale just meant that I will eventually have to adventure into the unknown, but, of course, experience is the antithesis to innocence,” he says.

Congratulations, Craig! We can’t wait to see what big things you accomplish!