(Editor's Note: Victoria Kisling is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto North Plainfield.

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Notifications of acceptance for most Ivy League colleges and universities came this year on March 30 and among the lucky few granted admission into the school of their choice was North Plainfield High School (NPHS) senior Kevin Andrade.

Andrade, who was accepted into Princeton University with the full cost of tuition covered by the school, quickly committed to the university. “It was almost surreal that I got into a school with such a low acceptance rate and a school that I’ve always wanted to go to,” said Andrade, adding, “But, at the same time, I think it shows that hard work really does pay off.”

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At Princeton, Andrade plans to study aerospace engineering and, after his undergraduate degree, hopes to work for a large aerospace engineering company. He would also like to travel to a different country with a developing space program.

“I think that my ultimate goal would be to open an aerospace engineering company of my own and be an entrepreneur in that way,” said Andrade. “I think that I would also want to accelerate the process of space exploration.”

During his high school career, Andrade has been involved in many clubs and activities, including the Canuck Mentors, Heroes and Cool Kids, Debate Club, Jazz Band, Math League, Science League, and Interact Club. Additionally, he is a member of both the National Honor and the Italian Honor Societies. Andrade is also a two-year varsity soccer player and a four-year varsity tennis player.

Despite all that he is involved with, Andrade never strayed from his academics. He stayed in the top 10 of his class all four years and will graduate in June ranked #2 in his class of 238 students.

Andrade said he owes a great deal of success to his parents, calling them his ‘role models.’ “I’ve seen them sacrifice so much so that I could succeed and just seeing that I think drove me to never be mediocre, be less than I knew I could be and always try to reach my potential,” said Andrade, whose advice for students trying to get into Ivy League schools is ‘don’t be hopeless’ and ‘don’t look at only the numbers.’

“The numbers are going to tell you that you’re not going to get into the school because you’re so low...I think that takes away a lot of hope for students because when you see that you think there’s no way you’re going to be part of that low percentage, but it comes down to way more than just the numbers,” he said.

In the end, said Andrade, it’s not about the school you go to but rather about ‘how hard you work, how dedicated you are, and how much you really want it.’

“Don’t be obsessed over getting into an Ivy League [school] because there’s so many other ways of getting where you want to be,” said Andrade. “It’s not really about how you get there, it’s about the [final] destination...You can really get anywhere you want if you work hard.”

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