Like so many other high school seniors, Jada Wiltz celebrated her acceptance to college with friends, family, and classmates.
But unlike most high school seniors, Wiltz also had thousands of people celebrating with her online.
In a video shared Wednesday, the Louisiana high school senior anxiously checked her admissions decision to Wellesley College as her friends, family, and TM Landry College Preparatory classmates stood anxiously behind.
When the good news loaded on her screen, everyone in the room went wild. Her brother even lifted her from her chair.
Little did she know, within a matter of hours, thousands of people would see the video that she shared on her Twitter feed. The video had been retweeted more than 8,000 times by Saturday morning.
“I didn’t expect that much from the video,” said Wiltz, 18. “I was just more so happy that I got in at the time.”
If this video sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s not the first time a TM Landry college acceptance has gone viral. Filming acceptances has become a tradition at the small prep school, with videos of students getting into Columbia, Cornell, and Harvard all making the rounds on social media in recent years.
According to a Washington Post profile, students and parents gather together to learn their college results, and they even buy the college’s apparel in preparation for the big day.
And no, they don’t always get accepted.
When a student got deferred last year, it was “like a gut punch,” a classmate said.
Wiltz only attended TM Landry for her senior year, but she said her final year of high school had been “life-changing.”
“I started going there, and it really changed my perspective on education,” she said. “It made it more of an opportunity than an obligation.”
She hopes younger students will view her viral video with the same perspective. It’s not about the retweets or the attention; it’s about the opportunity she received.
“I don’t want what I did to be the focal point,” she said. “I want it to be encouragement and just more than me. I want it to reach other people that don’t have the confidence or courage to apply to colleges like Wellesley.”
At Wellesley, Wiltz plans to study math with a concentration in biology, all on route to becoming an anesthesiologist.
She said she owes much of her success to the support system she had at her school.
“You realize that people matter, and some things you just can’t do by yourself, and you need people,” she said. “And for me, my family, my TM Landry family, have been those supportive people.”