Tuesday, July 13, 1999 Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Heading for Harvard
Application forms are available on the university's Website
An English schoolgirl has won a $100,000 scholarship to Harvard University in the United States.
Lara Dixon, from Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, went through a tough selection procedure before being offered a paid-for place to read economics, worth about £64,000.
The 18-year-old, who was turned down by Oxford University, is now preparing to start her four-year course in September.
Lara, whose mother died from breast cancer in 1991, is a pupil at her local Monkseaton Community High School, where she has excelled academically. She has already passed an Open University maths foundation course.
'I screamed with delight'
She downloaded applications forms for Harvard, in Massachusetts, from the Internet, and was later asked to take entrance exams and undergo an interview, held at Durham University.
The university, which is renowned for its business school, offered her the Harvard Faculty Scholarship, worth $25,000 (about £16,000), for every year of her course.
She said: "I never thought I would end up going there but I thought that if I didn't try I would never know.
"The interview went really well, and when I got the letter nearly a year later I was shaking and screamed with delight.
"I will be sharing halls of residence with people from all over the world, I can't wait to start. I did it for my mum and dad, she was good at maths too, so that is where I get it from."
'American dream material'
Her father, Jon Dixon, 50, a personnel manager, said: "It has been a dream of hers to go to Harvard and she has been really dedicated to it. I am ecstatic and delighted for her."
Headmaster of Monkseaton Community High School, Dr Paul Kelley, said: "The way she has gone about this is typical of her, determined and dedicated.
"She is good at everything she turns her hand to and is very popular with everyone, she is basically an all-American girl from Tyneside.
"Being an American I know how hard it is to get into Harvard and just how highly it is regarded. She has done very well.
"Lara is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent, ideal American dream material. She deserves all the success she gets, we are all very proud of her."