Black Achievers lend a helping hand to seniors

As the school year winds down for the class of 2013, many people await scholarship news to make the final decisions on what college they will attend. Scholarships heavily impact students’ decisions on what college or university they will attend. “In the midst of paying for senior fees, fees to visit the school you want to go to, it becomes stressful thinking about the money you will be paying while attending university,” Mike Brewer (12) said. “Scholarships are the best things that happen to any student.”

To take away some of the stress, some students look into websites that match them to scholarships like http://www.fastweb.com. Others seek to be in clubs or well established organizations that set them up for receiving beneficial scholarships- one of those organizations is Black Achievers.

Black Achievers is a program that gives African-American students in grades 8-12 a chance to explore higher education without the worries of finances or being unprepared. Black Achievers meets at the YMCA on Chestnut Street. This program offers ACT/SAT workshops, college visits, scholarships and much more. “Black Achievers was worth waking up every Saturday around seven a.m,” Zahara Gully (12) said. “I was able to raise my ACT score, and also learn the knowledge on how to converse with people who are of authority.”

The program teaches these young students how to properly act during an interview, and they are set up with scholarship interviews for certain schools. Those skills really paid off for Tishara Watters (12), who scored a full ride scholarship to Kentucky State University. “It feels amazing for that load to be taken off my back, not only for me but my mother,” Watters said. “My mother also has my younger sister to worry about, and though we don’t really think about how our grades and test scores affect our parents- they do. I’m just glad that Black Achievers gave me that hand to lend to her. Black Achievers really shaped me into a responsible young lady. That’s the only reason I was granted this opportunity.”

Mason Allen, a percussion major at YPAS, received a scholarship to further his interest in music producing. Mason is known to make beats in his spare time; that passion was translated into every Black Achiever meeting he attended. “When we would have group discussion and we were left free time to discuss what we learned, Mason would always liven the group up by beat-boxing or playing his invisible drums,” Jalyn Works (12) said. “You could just tell music was his life, and I’m not surprised that’s what he will be pursuing in college.”

Allen’s practicing of his craft and maintaining satisfactory grades meant he was also able to get a full ride scholarship to Indiana University Southeast. “It is truly a blessing to have these people see through me and know my passion,” Allen said. “Black Achievers staff members are really attentive and push you to excel. I’m thankful for this scholarship and will make the best of it to further my dream.”

If you are interested in Black Achievers, it’s never too late to sign up to be a part of the program. Visit the Chestnut Street branch of the YMCA for more information.

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Shantel Pettway serves as a Multimedia Staff Member. She is a published poet, who wished to convert her free-spirited style into news written format. Shantel likes to watch children and cook up breakfast parfaits; not only does she cook up food, Shantel wants to spice up RedEye with her unique style.