“That is what really made me think she would be a great fit for UVA and that UVA would be a great fit for her as well. I’m so happy to know that I will share an alma mater with Alita! I could talk about her all day.”
Robinson said the affection and regard are mutual. “She had a really big impact on me actually choosing to come here,” she said. “So, I applied early action and when I got in, I was so shocked. Like, I cried. It was a really rewarding experience. I was like, ‘OK, maybe I can come check the school out.’”
Robinson received a Blue Ridge Scholarship, created in 2014 by Board of Visitors member John Griffin, who wanted to make world-class education a reality for excellent students facing financial barriers.
When she was 12, Robinson traveled to San Diego for the National Chess Tournament with her Thomas Edison Charter School teammates, most of whom were African American. They returned home with the championship trophy.
This is the way she described the experience in her college essay:
If “Good Morning America” presented a story entitled, “Chess team wins the national chess title!,” people might assume that wealth and years of training had prepared them for that moment.
As a group of inner-city minorities, we lived through adversity and came from a city labeled “Murder Town, USA.” Yet, I knew that the talent my team possessed after two years of training made us special …
My team and I devoted six days a week to create a new image for the game of chess, to create a new image for our school, city, and state.
The word “conventional” is not in Robinson’s vocabulary.