Muscogee County students earn more than $15 million in college scholarships

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comMay 5, 2013 

Northside High School senior Amy Bray said Sunday that students should be recognized for something other than being good in sports.

“Not all of us have athletic ability,” she said.

What Amy does have is an academic scholarship to Mercer University that she said is worth $18,000 a year.

“I love Mercer. I’m going to be in pre-med,” she said, following the fourth annual National Signing Day for Scholars program at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.

It was announced at the ceremony that the 192 students honored have been awarded about $15.7 million in college academic scholarships this year.

Bray was one of about 85 honorees attending the event put together by the National Scholarship Recognition Committee and Columbus Regional Healthcare System.

“The program was very nice,” Bray said. “It was very sophisticated.”

Those students participating signed a Declaration of Scholarship on which they pledged to continue their best efforts to continue their education and serve their community. Those certificates will be put on file in the Columbus Public Library.

Keith Seifert, the director of secondary education for the Muscogee County School District, said that none of the students were being honored for their athletic ability, but had earned academic scholarships “above and beyond” the HOPE Scholarship.

“We want these students to know that what they do is important,” Seifert said. “These academic achievers are the leaders of tomorrow, the doctors, the lawyers, the inventors. I’m excited about us being able to honor them.”

Thomas Harris, a student at Columbus High School, will be attending Tuskegee University on a scholarship that his mother, Elisha Richardson, said is worth $24,000 per year.

“He is going to study aerospace engineering,” she said. “This is a wonderful event that the students can be honored for their hard work and share this day with their families. They need to be recognized.”

Chuck Stark, Columbus Regional’s president and CEO, said the student’s unbounded energy inspired him and he was glad to be part of a program that celebrated their excellence. Stark told the students to “dream big.”

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” he said.

He told the students to always choose to have a positive attitude, to be enthusiastic, to work well with others and not to be afraid to challenge conventional thinking. Stark also told them that their success in life will be measured by more than just how much money they make.

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