Teen learns of her acceptance to Duke University at late mother's gravesite

A young lady in Georgia will attend the college of her dreams, but not without a lot of hard work and some tears along the way.

Some of those tears were shed when her mother passed away nearly five years ago. That's why Skylar Hughes wanted to share this momentous occasion with her mom, Rasheda Hughes, who died when Skylar was just in seventh grade.

Last month, Skylar brought her laptop to her mom's gravesite, where she found out she had been accepted to Duke University.

Skylar said mom shared in the joy, too.

"I knew that since my mother had missed a lot of things with me in my childhood, growing up, and since this was mobile, I could take my computer to open the email anywhere, I knew I wanted to do it with her," Hughes told Good Morning America. "I thought whether I get accepted or denied, I wanted to share this moment with her because I knew it would be filled with emotion."

Skylar's father, James Hughes, joined Skylar for the celebration. Skylar began crying and yelling 'I got in!'

Taking Advanced Placement courses, working two jobs, an internship and logging hours of community service gave her a shot at getting in. Her father thought it was never in doubt.

"I told you," James told Skylar. "I told you."

Duke was the only school Skylar applied to. The 17-year-old wants to pursue marine biology. She also wants to learn more about medical conditions like the brain aneurysm that put her mother in a coma for a year prior to her death.

"It's been a lot of sacrifices so when I opened it and I got in, it was like all of my hard work had paid off," she said. "For the first time in a very long while, I was just very proud of myself and just so happy."

Skylar recorded her opening her acceptance email and posted the video to her Instagram story. Some of her cousins started a GoFundMe that raised more than $46,000 to help Skylar with expenses.

She thanked her dad, aunts and grandmother for "putting a fire in her," and pushing her to excel.
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