Ainsley Peña’s life changed forever Tuesday afternoon, when the 18-year-old stepped out of her Roxbury home to find a drone descending from the sky with a special delivery: a cloth bag from Curry College in Milton with a message inside.
“When I opened up the bag, I saw a little board, and it said ‘full tuition scholarship’ with my name on it. . . . I said, ‘Is this a joke? Is this a prank?’ ” said the Dorchester native, who will be the first in her family to attend college.
Her mother and siblings beamed with pride, Peña said, and she felt her late grandmother and older brother were looking down and sharing their joy.
“I felt both of their presence there, and that made me cry even more,” she said.
Peña plans to study biology or criminology and become a veterinarian, lawyer, or police officer, she said.
The scholarship is presented by the college in cooperation with Scholar Athletes, a Roxbury-based organization that supports student athletes in academics, college planning, and personal wellness. Peña was a four-sport athlete at English High School in Jamaica Plain, playing softball, soccer, basketball — and football.
Some male football players didn’t welcome their only female teammate. “They would come during the practices and tackle me hard to see if I would stay down and give up and quit the team,” Peña said, adding that it only motivated her.
“I’m not scared of anything,” she said. “Anything that’s in my way, I always overcome it.
The organization, in cooperation with Regis College in Weston, also presented a scholarship to Janelys Delvalle, who earned a 3.6 grade point average at Snowden International High School in the Back Bay while playing varsity basketball and interning at a hospital. Delvalle plans to become a surgeon.