Local teen graduating two years early, has $1M in scholarship offers

Published 8:32 am Tuesday, May 7, 2024

A 16-year-old Jennings teen, who is graduating from high school two years early, has received more than 60 college acceptance letters and over a million dollars in scholarship offers.

Alanah Poullard, a sophomore at Midland High School, has earned enough credits and completed enough courses to finish high school ahead of her classmates.

During a college reveal party on Saturday, Poullard said she plans to enroll in Louisiana State University this fall to major in microbiology with future plans to become a surgeon. Being a doctor is something she has always wanted to do since declaring she wanted to be a pediatrician in kindergarten.

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“I feel like LSU is where I can start my future,’” she said. “There are so many opportunities for me. I can’t wait to go.”

She hopes to complete college in three years and continue to medical school.

Poullard, who has a 3.8 GPA, started applying to more than 100 colleges during her freshman year of high school, but never imagined she’d get so many responses.

“I never thought in a million years I would have gotten into 60 colleges,” she said. “It’s still hard for me to believe that I am graduating, but I know that I worked hard for it and I deserve it.”

Poullard has accomplished a lot in her 16 years of life.

At the age of 5, she made local and national news when she asked former President Barack Obama to write an excuse note to her teacher after she missed school to attend a Wounded Warriors program at the White House with her parents. Obama wrote the note.

In 2022, at the age of 14, Poullard was accepted into a two-week summer medical internship at UCLA School of Medicine where she learned to perform an aortic valve replacement on a porcine heart.

Despite achieving so much at a young age, Poullard remains humble. She credits her success to her late father, Rev. Dr. Stacy Poullard.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now, if it weren’t for him pushing me,” she said. “He has done anything and everything he could to put me on this path to becoming a doctor and completing my education.”

Poullard’s mother, Yolanda, a retired U.S. Army major who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said she hopes her daughter never loses track of who she is.

“She struggled after losing her Dad, but she stayed focused on the path that he had instilled in her with education,” she said. “I constantly tell her in life you cannot forget your humble beginnings and to help others. I think if she sticks to that and keeps God in her life, she will be successful. She’ll be that Dr. Alanah Poullard one day.”

Betty Wise, Poullard’s aunt, said she hopes her niece will always remember her humble beginnings and everything that her parents instilled in her.

“She wouldn’t be where she is today without her parents who instilled the importance of an education, humility, morals and values,” Wise said. “I pray she remembers all those life long lessons.”

Tara Young, her volleyball coach at Notre Dame High School In Crowley, said Poullard has made remarkable strides to get to where she is today.

“You don’t see many students today who are as driven as she is, especially at 16,” Young said. “I feel completely blessed to have been a part of her journey and I believe she is going to do whatever she ultimately sets her mind to do.”

Poullard’s advice to students following in her footsteps, is simple.

“Don’t let grades and ACT scores define you because you can work hard to get it up, but when you submit those college applications, yes the consider those things, but they also consider how you helped your community and what you’ve done in your spare time,” she said. “Join as many clubs as you can, do community service, pick up a part-time job, that all looks good on your application and says a lot about you as a person.”

Poullard currently works at a daycare, does a monthly clothing and hygiene giveaway at her church and has an active YouTube channel. While in school she was involved in National Beta Club, National Association of High School Scholars, drama club, student council, volleyball, cheer, dance, tennis and swimming and more.