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North Carolina student earns $2.5 million in scholarships

Kyanna Woods was born with a heart defect doctors feared would cause learning disabilities. Now, she's graduating top of her class with $2.5 million in scholarships.

CONCORD, N.C. — A Concord teenager who had open heart surgery when she was an infant is graduating at the top of her class and has earned millions of dollars in scholarships. 

Kyanna Woods has already been accepted to 61 colleges and has $2.5 million in scholarships to cover her tuition. When it comes to her choice for college, Woods has a problem most high schoolers can only dream about.

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"I've been accepted into Spelman College, Xavier University, the University of South Carolina, Appalachian State," Woods said, naming just a few of the schools interested in having her. 

"We were going to the mailbox quite regularly and we get piles of stuff from this school or that school," William Woods, Kyanna's father, told WCNC Charlotte. 

She's the valedictorian at Cabarrus Charter School in Concord. It's obvious she's accomplished a lot, but it really started when she was a baby.

"At 3 months old, I had open heart surgery," Woods said. 

Doctors said Kyanna had two holes in her tiny heart. 

"It was an uphill battle," William said. 

Doctors told her parents that Kyanna would have trouble walking, playing sports and would have to deal with learning disabilities. But that didn't stop her. She excels at sports, and her academic record speaks for itself. 

"It's just a blessing to see what she can do and what she has done," Kourtney Woods, Kyanna's mother, said. 

"Many people have called me a miracle child," Kyanna said. "I accept it with open arms because it is the truth." 

She credits her faith and family as the sources of her inspiration. 

"They are super important. I love all of them to death," Kyanna said. "They are my unwavering cheerleaders when I need the motivation."

She's already graduated twice. Once from high school and she received an associate's degree. And yes, she's made up her mind about where to attend college. 

"I have decided I will be attending Xavier University of Louisiana as a pre-med psychology student on the valedictorian scholarship," she said. 

Contact Richard DeVayne at rdevayne@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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