This is the time of year high school students dream of, graduation day is approaching. Their hard work is paying off.
And while COVID-19 has made this year more challenging than they could have ever imagined. And albeit a bit more memorable for reasons they’d probably rather not remember – for several seniors at DeSoto High School, an even bigger dream is coming true, thanks to Texas Christian University.
They have been named 2020 TCU Community Scholars. This award is given to outstanding seniors from urban, high minority public high schools. With the honor comes more than $6 million in total scholarships each year, spread among the respective winners.
Selected from DeSoto High this year are Melissa Bahena, Kaliah Williams, Christine Eng, Madison Hall, Chayla Williams (no relation to Kaliah), Anaiah Porter, Keylin Boyd and Tiffany Kalu. However, Kalu has decided not to accept the honor and is going to attend a different university, DeSoto officials said.
Each of the other recipients will receive a full scholarship to TCU covering tuition and fees, room and board. This includes all four years they attend the university, along with opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad. The award package has a value over $260,000 for each student.
“For me, this entire process has been very exciting, and I’m glad to say I’ll be a part of the TCU Class of 2024,” Kaliah Williams said.
TCU notified students individually
Traditionally, recipients were surprised with an announcement during school. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, TCU has taken a different approach and notified the students individually.
Still, DeSoto ISD To & Through Coordinator for College, Career and Military Readiness Iesha Jackson said there is much to celebrate for “these amazing students.”
“I want to thank everyone who assisted with the process of preparing our students for this amazing opportunity. All of the hard work and dedication has definitely paid off,” she said.
DeSoto has a strong history in the TCU Community Scholar honors. Last year seven students were chosen, this year there were eight.
DeSoto was also the only school in the Best Southwest area to have any students honored.
“We value more than just a test score and class rank, we look to see if the student can make an impact at TCU,” reads a statement from TCU Community Scholars Director Timeka Gordon on the program’s website.
“It allows me to not only have access to a quality education, but also experiences and resources that a lot of my peers – and even mentors – didn’t get the opportunity to have,” Porter said.
Eng said the award brings a peace of mind. For her being able to attend a prestigious university without the big cost that comes with a college education, is a relief.
“Being able to be one of the recipients of the TCU Community Scholarships means the entire world to me,” she said. “Being able to have the opportunity to put my mind at ease, knowing that I’m able to continue my passions and reach my dreams is the greatest thing ever.”