Three EBRPSS Seniors Get Full College Rides as 2011 Gates Millennium Scholars
- May 4, 2011
Seniors John Queen of Belaire High School, Ashleigh Ray of Scotlandville Magnet High School and Tracey Victorin of Tara High School and their parents don’t have to worry about covering the cost of four or more years of college anymore. That’s because all three students from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System have won full-ride scholarships for college and expenses through master’s degree studies to any school they would like to attend in the country – thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholars Program.
In Louisiana, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program named 12 scholars for this honor in 2011. Only four came from this immediate area.
Every year, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program selects 1,000 talented students from across the nation to receive a good-through-graduation scholarships to use at any college or university of their choice. It provides Gates Millennium Scholars with personal and professional development through our leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career.
Here are the three EBRPSS Scholars’ profiles:
JOHN QUEEN, BELAIRE HIGH SCHOOL It has always been John Queen Jr.’s dream to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, and now his dream will come true after being named one of 1,000 national 2011 Gates Millennium Scholars. Beginning next year, the Belaire High School senior, who is 18, will have the all his college tuition, texts and expenses fully covered by the program – through graduate school, if he chooses.
The son of Karvett Tillery-Queen and John Queen Sr., Queen said he would like to pursue a dual degree program and eventually become a chemical engineer. “I’ve always heard great things about Morehouse and looked up to that school since I was a young kid visiting it in Atlanta. I also toured it this winter,” Queen said. “I also know a few people who have attended Morehouse, and I’d like to start out there studying Computer Science and then move on to a graduate school for Chemical Engineering. I know it will cost at least $200,000 for four years at Morehouse, and that’s just the tuition. I would have been able to attend college otherwise, but it would have been a financial burden and would have required a loan.”
Queen’s father, a plant supervisor, and his mother, the owner of an accounting/tax firm and finance/human resources director of the non-profit Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge, have always encouraged him to study hard and make plans to further his education. “I’ve always had a passion to learn how things work and build them. I love to take things apart and then put them back together and study how they work,” Queen said. “This is so exciting, and I’m still kind of in shock. My mom, who is a single parent, jumped up and down. She has pushed and encouraged me to study really hard. Now that I have this scholarship, I’m going to make sure I do that.”
With a 4.34 grade point average and a 23 ACT score, Queen also is a finalist for smaller Herff Jones Leadership and Sam Walton Community scholarships. He also takes college Algebra currently at Louisiana State University. Queen is president of the school’s Student Government Association, Beta Club and the Future Business Leaders of America and vice-president of his senior class. He also is the salutatorian for the Class of 2011 at Belaire High School. In addition, Queen is a member of the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and a volunteer for St. Mark United Methodist Church, the Food Bank of Greater Baton Rouge and Volunteers in Public Schools. He’s also a long-time bowler.
ASHLEIGH RAY, SCOTLANDVILLE MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL Ashleigh Ray, the Scotlandville High School’s Class of 2011 salutatorian at this juncture, holds a grade point average of 4.2 and scored a 26 on the ACT – more than enough to qualify her as a Gates Millennium Scholar. She plans to attend Xavier University this fall as a Chemistry major with a Pre-Med track. Eventually, she plans to be an intern in a medical examiner’s office and later become a forensic pathologist. It’s a field no one in her family has entered before, although mom Gatha Davis (a homemaker), dad Darryl Sanford (a retired executive chef) and step-father John Davis (a truck driver) have always encouraged Ray to dream big.
Ray was inspired to go into medicine by her favorite TV show, “Dr. G: Medical Examiner,” which is about a forensic pathologist. “That’s where I really got interested in medicine,” she said. “I have a real interest in forensic pathology in particular, because those in the field find out how a person dies and eases the minds of the family members. I like to help people, and that would help others. I am very happy about this scholarship, because if I had no scholarships my mom and dad couldn’t afford to send me to college. I would have to take out loans, so this is a blessing.”
In addition to the Gates Millennium scholarship, Ray has received a four-year, $120,000-scholarship from Xavier. Tulane also offered her a scholarship of $30,000, which she turned down.
When not studying, Ray is the school’s yearbook editor, vice-president of the school chapter of the National Honor Society and a school office volunteer. She is a former Scotlandville High Softball Team player and likes to swim whenever possible. In addition, Ray volunteers at Scotlandville Elementary School in a backpack program with Health Centers of America to feed children in need.
TRACEY VICTORIN, TARA HIGH SCHOOL Tracey Victorin, who is the valedictorian to date at Tara High School, earned her Gates Millennium scholarship by studying hard, which is evidenced by a 4.4 grade point average and an ACT score of 25. In addition to this scholarship, she will receive an Honors Scholarship of $33,000 from Southeastern University in Hammond, her school of choice, and a $1,000 scholarship from the Southern University Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. She would like to become a nurse.
Currently, Victorin is president of the school’s Beta Club, vice-president of the Student Government Association, vice-president of the Tara Team Spirit/I CARE, a reporter with the Key Club and a member of Mu Alpha Theta-Math Club, the National Honor Society and the school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I had college covered somewhat with the Southeastern University scholarship, but I would’ve still probably needed a little extra money to make ends meet,” Victorin said. “It would have made living hard and more stressful without the Gates Millennium scholarship. Now, all I have to worry about is studying.”
Victorin is the daughter of Shirley Victorin, a homemaker, and Darrell Victorin, who works with the East Baton Rouge City-Parish.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999, initially was funded by a $1-billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of the program is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential by: • Reducing financial barriers for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need; • Increasing the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented; • Developing a diversified cadre of future leaders for America by facilitating successful completion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; and • Providing seamless support from undergraduate through doctoral programs, for students selected as Gates Millennium Scholars entering target disciplines. For more information, log on to http://www.gmsp.org/default.aspx.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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