Best of Brooklyn: 3 Brooklyn Prep students get into Ivy League schools

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WILLIAMSBURG -

Three students at Brooklyn Prep are celebrating in a big way after being accepted into several Ivy League schools, with some even getting a free ride.

Hard work and determination, that's what these Brooklyn Prep students say helped them get into some of the top schools in the nation.

All three received at least $70,000 in scholarships and grants and will go on to become the first college graduates in their families.

"I couldn't believe it, I was so excited. Being the first person in my family to go to college is really exciting, and everyone's experiencing it for the first time, so it just makes it that more special,” says student Justin Perez.

Penelope Adames, daughter of immigrants, was accepted to 14 out of the 16 schools she applied to.

"My mom, like she came to this country just so I can have what she didn't have, so for her it's like the biggest accomplishment,” says Adames. “For me in a way I have to live the life that she didn't so that she doesn't regret doing what she did for me."

Nayelis Lopez says she didn't have the same advantages as some of her classmates, which is why she worked hard and often attended Saturday school to get the SAT prep she needed.  

She hopes to inspire her younger family members to one day attend college.

"They see the things that I'm doing, and I feel like I'm kind of setting a precedent for them because they're saying like, ‘Oh my cousin's going to college, she's doing all these things. Like, I can do it, there is a path for me,’” says Lopez.

The students say they're thankful to have caring staff at Brooklyn Prep who push them to be the best that they can be.

Once they receive their college degrees, Adames hopes to become an FBI agent, Lopez a senator and Perez a computer programmer.

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