Hustling to Harvard

Williams overcomes hardships, proves self-worth


Disha Kohli

Coppell High School senior Peyton Williams tutors CHS sophomore Lauren Myers for Algebra II on April 22 at Myer’s residence. Williams has tutored students in a variety of subjects throughout high school and is attending Harvard University in fall 2019.

Nishant Medicharla, Export and Production Manager

“I was in disbelief, and I wanted to make sure I was reading it right, so I wiped my eyes, and then looked at it again to make sure,” Coppell High School senior Peyton Williams said. “I showed my sister, and then we started screaming and crying.”

From starting her own nonprofit to getting two jobs and coaching kids in basketball at the Coppell YMCA, Williams has defied all odds.

This fall, Williams will attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass on a full-ride scholarship, where she plans to major in pre-medicine and economics.

Originally intending to attend the University of Texas at Austin, Williams never imagined she would be going to Harvard because of the institution’s five percent acceptance rate.

However, her past was filled with obstacles that molded her into who she is today.

Met with unstable financial circumstances in her freshman year, Williams took matters into her own hands by working two jobs while playing basketball and taking 16 AP classes in high school.

Williams started working at Market Street, tutored students with the tutoring company EZ Tutor and even babysat throughout high school. Her family only had one car, so she had to quit playing basketball for CHS senior year.  

However, the number of activities Williams had to juggle did not stop her from achieving more.

“She has always been giving,” said Greg Williams, Peyton’s father. ”[She has] always been helpful with expressing her availability to help others to understand their worth.”

This was seen when Peyton and her close friend, CHS senior Anisha Bagaria, started their own nonprofit, BagWi Incorporated. The nonprofit aims to provide hygiene products to the homeless in Dallas but has even supported victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Peyton wanted to help the homeless community after touring cities such as Los Angeles and Washington D.C. and when her own uncle became homeless.

“I always wanted to do something about the homeless community,” Williams said. “I know I could not give them houses, but I just thought if I could give them hygiene products, I can at least lift up their hopes and give them more dignity.”

Peyton and Bagaria attended many fundraisers, collecting more than 1,000 hygiene products, and even went door-to-door collecting products.

“She brought a lot to the table in terms of creativity and how we would get our ideas out,” Bagaria said. “She was really good about getting everything done. When I was distracted or anything, she was really diligent in terms of staying on track.”

While volunteering at church, becoming a college ambassador, tutoring kids, co-running her own nonprofit, playing basketball, babysitting, working at Market Street and interning at UT Southwestern Medical Center throughout her high school career, Peyton has still managed to excel in her rigorous classes.

“Her character was outstanding,” AP U.S. History teacher Scott Shelby said. “She had a good relationship with all the students in our activities in class. She took leadership roles whether that was moderating Socratic seminars or being lead attorneys in our mock trial. She was always somebody who I could lean on to be a leader.”

Peyton aspires to attend Harvard Medical School or Columbia Medical School after completing her undergraduate to become a neurosurgeon or a cardiologist one day. Williams is more determined than ever to go into the medical field after enduring the traumatic events of her mother’s three heart failures.

“I want her to graduate at the top of her class at Harvard,” said Tangerla Williams, Peyton’s mother. “We want her to make friends of all backgrounds and expand her experiences so she can do some good in the world.”

While Peyton is excited to explore the new mindsets and viewpoints presented within Harvard, she thanks Coppell for pushing her to try her hardest.

“Being in the competitive nature of Coppell has inspired me to work harder in everything I do,” Williams said. “Not as much just to compete with other people, but to compete within yourself.”


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