Brianna Watts and her mother Bridgette Gibbs felt like sweepstakes winners after running the tables with a dozen college acceptance letters. But the jackpots don’t come with lottery money and the mother and daughter have spent the spring strategizing on how to pay the tuition. They have a few loans and small scholarships lined up, but they’re also talking about bake sales and a lemonade stand.
But readers of The News who were touched by Brianna’s resilience have offered to help, including funeral home owner Clifford James, who was also homeless for a while in his youth.
“That girl has a lot going on,” James said. “I said I have to do something. I think there should be some effort to help her out.”
One anonymous offer came from the CEO of a local investment firm.
Brianna, a senior at Bronxwood Preparatory Academy High School, received offers from Delaware State University, Virginia State University, the University of Albany, Alfred State College, Monroe College, Goldey-Beacom College, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Plattsburgh, Adelphi University, Hunter College, Lehman College and John Jay College.
She plans to attend Delaware State and study business.
Brianna and her mom were living in a shelter when she started high school, but have since transitioned into a supportive housing unit run by the non profit Women in Need (WIN), which offers shelter and support to homeless women and children.