GHS student first to cash in ASU scholarship promise
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 27, 2005 1:45 PM
When Renaldo Davis was awarded a $20,000 scholarship to attend Appalachian State University as a 9-year-old student at School Street Elementary School, he didn't really understand what it meant.
"I won't thinking about college then, so I didn't know what to expect," he said.
Now, as a graduating senior at Goldsboro High School, he sees that award nine years ago as a key to his future.
In 1996, Davis was the fourth Wayne County student to receive the annual award, presented to the rising fourth-grader with the highest score in the county on the third-grade end-of-grade test. Funded by an anonymous donor, the scholarship began as a way to offer minority students more opportunities in higher education.
Davis said he has always kept Appalachian State as his No. 1 college choice over the years, just in case.
"My parents always told me to keep my grades up," he said. "Once I understood it, I tried to keep my grades up."
He has enjoyed a well-rounded career in high school, participating in the Student Government Association, Future Teachers of America, the math club and its honor society, and was named an N.C. Scholar. He was drum major for the school's marching band and was voted this year's Prom King and best dressed for the senior class.
Davis said the college contacted him a couple of times at the beginning of the year to gauge his interest in attending and guided him in the application process.
He said he also applied for additional financial aid, since the original $20,000 award will not cover everything for the four years he will attend Appalachian State. Through the efforts of his school counselor, Tosha Raynor, and Principal Patricia Burden, he was able to secure enough to pay for the remaining incidentals, like room and board and books.
Davis' career plans are uncertain, but he said he would like to own his own business one day.
"I plan to study electrical parts and technology," he said. "I would like to buy old homes, do the electrical work myself, and resell them."
The only child of Clyde and Judiette Davis of Dudley credits his parents with always encouraging him to do his best.
"They always provided the necessary tools for me to succeed," he said. "They have inspired me in many ways, and I really appreciate them for all the things they have done."
Even when they didn't necessarily have the most money, he said, "they made sure they did all they could to make sure I had everything I needed."
When he recently made the five-hour drive to visit the Boone campus for the first time, he said he was warmly welcomed by staff, students and chancellors.
"They had a pizza party and everybody knew who I was and was excited to see me," he said. "It was fun. I already wanted to go, but they made me want to go even more, made me more excited about it. Now, I'm ready to go."
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