By Chandler Lutz

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s an award won by presidents, powerful politicians, and some of the most influential thinkers in the world. Now a University of Pennsylvania student has received it, too.

“I always thought it was a long shot, until they announced my name,” said Anea Moore. The dream of winning one of the most prestigious academic awards just became a reality her.

Anea, a Philadelphia native who is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, is one of 32 American recipients of the 2019 Rhodes Scholarship.

“I am so incredibly happy to be a part of the Rhodes scholar class,” Anea said.

Anea is also making her own history. After excelling at Julia R. Masterman school in Philadelphia, she became the first in her family to attend college.

“They sacrificed their lives for me and gave me everything I needed to succeed, so it would be unfair for me not to work my very hardest,” Anea said.

It wasn’t easy getting here. Anea’s dad died her senior year in high school. Nine months later, while Anea was in her first semester at Penn, her mother died.

“My parents didn’t get the chance to live their lives,” Anea said. “I have sort of taken their memories and all their hard work and tried to ensure that equity for other people that are still here (…) that are still alive, that they have the chance to live better lives.”

In her Rhodes Scholarship application, Anea wrote about her volunteer work and teaching the student choir at Henry C. Lea School in Philadelphia.

Principal Shavon Savage said, “Her devotion and dedication to the students here at Lea is just tremendous.”

The Rhodes Scholarship will allow Anea to attend the University of Oxford next fall.

“Being a Rhodes scholar is more than just the degrees and the scholarship,” Anea said. “It’s about going to a place my family has never been, and doing things and experiencing things my community members have never had the chance to.”

After England, her goals include law school. Eventually she wants to become a policy maker, “taking all the knowledge from the degree, all the knowledge I get from the experiences, and really bringing it back home to Philadelphia, to the city that has raised me, that has nourished me into the Rhodes scholar that I am today.”