Twiggs County senior Aylah Birks gets The Gates Scholarship

The Gates Scholarship is highly selective and is given to accomplished, minority, high school seniors, according to the foundation.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ga. — In March, we first reported on Twiggs County senior, Aylah Birks, who was accepted into over 80 colleges with more than $2.2 million in scholarship offers.

She’s now been accepted into over 100 colleges with more than $4.5 million in scholarship offers, but one of them stands out above the rest.

“Aylah was eager to learn; she wanted to learn,” said her mother, Cindy Curry Birks.

That passion brought Birks some amazing accomplishments — she was one of 300 students nationwide to win The Gates Scholarship.

“I’m sitting over there on that coach and I’m yelling. My mom was like, ‘You got it, you got it.’ I’m like, ‘Yes I got it, I’m looking at the documents right now,’” recalled Aylah.

The Gates Scholarship is highly selective and is given to accomplished, minority, high school seniors, according to the foundation.

Aylah’s mother says this does not comes as no surprise to her

“I am ecstatic, but I’m not surprised,” said Birks.

Ever since Aylah was a toddler, her mom knew she would go far

“Early on I noticed Aylah had a gift, probably about six months when she was a baby, and I knew it was something different about her…something I had never experienced before,” said Birks.

Aylah says this award is more than just a scholarship; it’s something personal to her.

“I’m happy because this is something groundbreaking for my family and my community and I’m the first female and first African-American female in my district to win it,” she said.


Cindy says everything wasn’t always easy, but she made the best decisions she could for her baby.

“It wasn’t easy, the ramifications of life, it stepped in but we overcame it I never gave up. I never gave up on her, I never gave up on my family, and I had a great support system,” said Birks.

Aylah says it’s the role models and support system in her life that helped make this scholarship possible.

“My biggest inspiration has to be my mom and also my dad. Most definitely the women, but also the men in my family have inspired me as well,” she said.

She says sometimes Twiggs County is overlooked, but there is a wealth of talent.

“You don’t really hear so much from Twiggs County, but when you do, it’s something big. It’s something miraculous, it’s something historic, and I think it’s so many hidden gems down here,” said Aylah.

Right now, her top two schools are Mercer University and LSU.

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