“I am very lucky to have parents who care so much and want us to succeed and be in a better spot than they were.” Nicolette Robinson knows her parents’ story well; she sees the challenges they’ve overcome and the love that binds them. “My mom is white, and my dad is black; and all my siblings are mixed race. My parents went through a lot of adversity being an interracial couple, and they understood that we were going to go through some struggles as well.” Family dinners were time to share good news and talk through difficulties. “We were always taught to love everyone as equal and seeing them love each other helped us learn that as well.” Now on her own in college, she hopes to have that kind of positive impact on her younger siblings and the world.

If that sounds like an ambitious goal, you need to get to know Robinson a little better. At Page High School she played four sports. “I did cross country in the fall; in the winter I did basketball, and in the spring I did soccer and track.” She helped shuttle her four siblings to their activities, and in 2018 her academic performance earned her a place in the freshman class at Wake Forest University. “It is an incredible opportunity for me to be here,” she says. A major in health and exercise science with a minor in psychology and women’s gender and sexuality studies keeps her busy, and a Say Yes Guilford Scholarship gives her peace of mind. “I know a lot of people from where I came from, having siblings meant not everyone could go to college. Say Yes can provide a family with a little bit of ease when it comes to thinking about the financial aspect of college.”

Robinson says the scholarship lets her focus on her future and her passion. “I want to break barriers and be a role model that I never saw in the media, being a brown woman.” She wants to work in physical therapy one day. “My goal is to be someone that other generations and, of course, my own siblings can look up to. Just having that background has made me want to break all the barriers economically, racially, and even being a woman, breaking the barriers put in our society today.” Robinson feels some pressure being the first of five in her family to leave the nest, but her parents gave her strong wings, and she’s ready to fly. “I work hard every day, so my brothers and sisters can follow in my footsteps, not a direct path, but one that works for them.”