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MassBay Community College Graduate Headed To Harvard

WELLESLEY (CBS) - From community college to Harvard. "I can't wait to be going to Harvard in the fall. I can't believe I'm saying that right now," said 24-year-old James Casey of Natick.

Casey found out he was accepted into the Ivy League school two weeks ago, after applying three weeks before deadline. "It took being in the Marine Corps to realize that, once I went to MassBay, I needed to seize this opportunity and work as hard as I could," Casey said.

James Casey
James Casey (WBZ-TV)

We all know how competitive Harvard is. The acceptance rate is a little over 5 percent. And for transfer students, it's even more competitive. The prestigious school only accepts less than 1 percent of applicants.

Casey, is one of only a dozen transfer students accepted out of nearly 1200 applicants. His parents couldn't be more proud. "Just incredibly proud of him and I hope he's an inspiration to his younger cousins and anyone else who feels 'Oh, I don't know if I'll go to school, get a job?' Definitely, go for it," said his mother, Barbara Casey.

His dad, Jim Casey agreed. "Get what you want. Go after it Jimmy. Don't do what your dad did," he said.

James Casey
James Casey and his dad (WBZ-TV)

The 24-year-old is the first in his family to graduate from college. He credits his first professor, Carolyn Guttilla for encouraging him to apply.

"He's bright, engaged and very humble. Harvard will be lucky to have him," said Professor Guttilla.

The future sports broadcaster plans to study psychology. He hopes his story will erase the bad rap community colleges sometimes get. "I'm really proud to be representing MassBay, and going to Harvard, to show people that community college is incredible," Casey said.

Harvard costs about $70,000 per year, with room and board. James is going for free. "I just found out this morning, that I'll be going totally debt-free," he said. "The GI bill is paying for about half of it and Harvard is going to pay for the other half."

James, who nearly has a perfect GPA was also accepted into Emerson and Boston College, but was rejected by Northeastern. He told WBZ he's not worried, now that he's attending Harvard in the fall.


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