04/29/09 — Meadow Lane fourth-grader wins future Appalachian State University scholarship

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Meadow Lane fourth-grader wins future Appalachian State University scholarship

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 29, 2009 1:46 PM

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Malik Satchell, right, a fourth-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary School, wears the Appalachian State University hat presented to him by Vivien McMahon, director of development at the College of Arts and Sciences at ASU.

A fourth-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary School has become the county's 17th recipient of a $20,000 scholarship to Appalachian State University, payable upon his high school graduation in 2018.

Malik Satchell, the son of Humeka and Garland Knowlton, was the district's minority student with the highest standardized score on last year's end-of-grade test in math.

Meadow Lane also gained some notoriety during the Wednesday afternoon announcement. The school boasted the first recipient of the scholarship when the award was introduced, and now has the most recipients, with five of the 17.

"This all began in 1993 when a visionary businessman, I guess you might say, rode into two communities, Wayne County and Craven County, and with monetary support from others (presented a scholarship) for the African American male who scored the highest on the third grade end-of-grade test in math," explained Olivia Pierce, executive director of community relations.

The donor, who has remained anonymous, established the scholarship to help promote cultural diversity at ASU while benefiting students from the two counties, Mrs. Pierce said.

It's an annual event officials look forward to, said Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent.

He congratulated the staff and teachers who worked with Malik, with special tribute paid to the family.

"It obviously starts at home, with the support that you give at home," he said. "With all the good work that's done at home and at school, when it comes to test-taking time, Malik has to put forth the effort to do that. And certainly the efforts are shown here today, by him being the honoree selected for this scholarship."

Taylor praised Malik's diligence, especially at such a young age when many of his peers haven't even begun to think about college.

"Malik, you have accomplished something that a lot of students aspire to," he said. "You have shown early on that you're working hard, you're studying hard. ... Now it's up to you. The scholarship has been laid in your hands. What you have to do is continue doing what you're doing now. You're a shining example for the other students to follow."

Steve Hicks, president of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, also acknowledged Malik's honor, encouraging him to "keep it up."

"You haven't just done something average, you have done something at the top," he said.

Vivien McMahon, director of development of the College of Arts and Sciences at ASU, presented Malik with an "early diploma," recognizing him for the "fall 2017 freshman scholarship honor," and gave him a T-shirt and hat from ASU.

Surrounded by family members, Malik's remarks to the crowd were brief. He introduced his mother and stepfather, aunts and uncle, grandmother, grandfather and great-grandmother, thanking them for their encouragement and the benefactors for the scholarship. Then he noted his own hard work -- "I'm also really proud of myself," he said.

His teachers also sang Malik's many praises.

Denise Thomas, his third-grade teacher when Malik took the end-of-grade test for which he was recognized, called him a "very good student."

"He got 100s on almost everything he turned in last year," she said.

And his current teacher, Emily West, shared how things are this year in Room 9.

"Every day with Malik in my classroom is a blessing," she said. "You have a student that works hard and loves learning. We all feel really proud of him."

The youth was admittedly humbled by the whole experience.

"I was very surprised, I didn't even think it was happening," Malik says of first learning about his high score. "I thought they were just playing with me, I just didn't think I really got it."

The test was not a cinch, he says now.

"Those questions, I would be stuck on one and then I would just look around and think, 'I've just got to get past this question,'" he said.

Like others who spoke at the ceremony, Malik shared credit with his family.

"I'm very proud of my family because they taught me and helped me and supported me," he said. "I wouldn't even know they were, they were just telling me stuff. I wouldn't do my homework, but because of them, the minute I would get home, I would start and I couldn't do anything else until I finished."

The whole notion of going to college is a heady one for the 9-year-old.

"I'm having too much fun being a kid," he said, although he now has plans to one day major in math and science. "I would like to help the world and protect the ozone layer."