05/12/09 — Three students earn four-year scholarships

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Three students earn four-year scholarships

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 12, 2009 1:46 PM

Stephen Johnson

Shiquita Ingram

Masika Whitfield

Goldsboro High School seniors Stephen Johnson and Masika Whitfield and senior Shiquita Ingram of Southern Wayne High will receive full-ride scholarships to the colleges of their choice.

Johnson and Miss Whitfield chose N.C. A&T in Greensboro, and Miss Ingram picked St. Augustine College in Raleigh. They were announced as scholarship recipients Friday at the Smart Choices for Youth's first Scholars and Overcomers Banquet at Farmington Heights Church in Wilson.

Smart Choices for Youth is a mentoring organization that serves Wayne and Wilson counties. The organization's executive director, Daryl Woodard, said many times high school seniors want to attend college but cannot afford it. And many times, he said, they don't know which colleges are offering which scholarships.

So Smart Choices for Youth made the phone calls to universities and found three -- A&T, St. Augustine and N.C. Central at Durham -- that were willing to award the four-year scholarships at $25,000 a year. Smart Choices then opened nominations in all the high schools, soliciting outstanding students from counselors, teachers and parents. Woodard said Smart Choices received 30 referrals from each county, and the teachers and counselors then nominated six from Wayne and six from Wilson.

In addition to receiving the scholarship to A&T, Johnson was named Student of the Year at the banquet for academic excellence and for overcoming challenges. He helps his mother, who can't work because of health problems, by working after school and paying his own cell phone and insurance bills.

He said he chose A&T because of its strong engineering program.

"They have one of the best programs in the states," said Johnson, who plans to go into chemical engineering.

Johnson said he works hard at home, work and school. He said he is hoping to raise his 3.9 grade point average to 4.0 by the time he graduates.

Miss Whitfield has a 4.0 grade point average and prefers A&T because of its strong business and accounting program. She wants to be a personal accountant.

"I want to open my own business in Greensboro or Charlotte and then pursue a master's and a doctorate," she said.

Miss Ingram is the cadet squadron commander over 127 other cadets at Southern Wayne High School. The cadet squadron commander in a high school is similar to the an Air Force base commander except harder because you're working with teenagers, said her aerospace science instructor, Janet Teasley, who nominated Miss Ingram.

"(Miss Ingram) is an extremely intelligent, hard working person who deserves every opportunity to succeed. In the four years I have known her, I have seen her mature to a level that goes beyond that of a high school student," Mrs. Teasley said.

Miss Ingram has been in the school's junior ROTC program since coming to Southern Wayne in her second semester in the ninth grade. She had been going back and forth to live with her divorced parents for several years, being pulled out of one school to transfer to another in mid-year. But she kept her grades up the whole time.

Miss Ingram wants to be a nurse and has applied at St. Augustine, which has a pre-med program, and to A&T, which has a nursing program.