09/22/05 — Student gets scholarship after math win

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Student gets scholarship after math win

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 22, 2005 1:47 PM

Edith Tate of Lexington said her grandson, Malik Hargrave, has always been a big dreamer.

"He's always said he's going to be president of the United States," she said. "He said he's gonna do this and he's gonna do that, and he's gonna change the world."

She was admittedly proud when the fourth-grader was named Wayne County Public Schools' 13th recipient of a $20,000 scholarship to Appalachian State University. A recognition ceremony was held at Meadow Lane Elementary School Tuesday morning.

The scholarship, awarded annually to the third-grade African-American student in the school system who scores the highest in math on the end-of-grade test, was first presented in 1993. Provided by an anonymous donor, it was initially given to recipients in Craven and Wayne counties. Currently, it is only awarded in Wayne County.

"Thirteen is usually looked at as an unlucky number," Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "Malik, you're very lucky to be the 13th recipient."

Taylor said it is unusual for a scholarship to be given at such an early age. He applauded Malik for earning it through hard work.

"You reflect positively on the schools and the county," he said.

This is the fourth time a Meadow Lane student has been the recipient. It is also the second year in a row the scholarship has been presented there, and both were students of Penny Baker and assistant Rita Thompson. Ms. Baker remembered Malik as being a very good student.

"We're very pleased and proud of him," she said.

Meadow Lane Principal Celia James, herself the parent of an Appalachian State University graduate, congratulated Malik and his family.

"We want you to leave here today feeling very proud, just as we are, of this wonderful accomplishment," she said.

Malik, the son of Keith and Dee Hargrave, is now a former student of the school, having since moved to Lexington. His father, stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, will be getting out of the military in January and plans to return to college to complete his engineering degree.

Several dignitaries also attended the ceremonies, including Board of Education members Rick Pridgen and Lehman Smith, chairman, as well as Sen. John Kerr.

Olivia Pierce, the school system's executive director for community relations, said, "This is always such a joyful occasion for our school system, something we look forward to each year."

Steve Hicks of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce said he became familiar with the program while living in Craven County.

'This is universal in that not only is it based on your past achievement but what you'll do in the future," he said.

Dr. Harry Williams, associate vice-chancellor for diversity at ASU, has been a part of the scholarship program since it began. Thanks to the anonymous donor, he said, there is now more than $300,000 set aside for potential students to attend the university.

"Continue to dream, Malik," he said. "I want you to dream big, so big that you think about all you can do to make this a better place for everybody."

Producing his own form of an acceptance speech, Malik recalled learning about the honor.

"When I found out from my mom that I had won the scholarship to college, I couldn't believe it," he said. "I thought, 'Wait. I'm only in the fourth grade.'

"After that, I thought, 'I'm rich!'"

He thanked his teachers and his family for encouraging and pushing him to always do his best.

Robert Lyman, dean of the college of arts and sciences, made sure Malik began his college allegiance early, presenting him with an ASU cap and sweatshirt.