Hundreds of Shelby County Schools students surprised with scholarships to TSU

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Over 100 high school seniors filed into Pursuit of God Church Tuesday morning for a surprise that will impact their futures.

“When I first came in, I didn’t know what was happening,” said Kristen Tolbert, a senior at Martin Luther King College Prep.

Seniors from different high schools in District 3, which includes the Frayser-Raleigh area, were chosen based on GPA to receive scholarships from HBCU Tennessee State University (TSU).

Tolbert is considering studying mass communications and sports media at TSU.

“I can say I was excited to receive a scholarship from Tennessee State because it was on my list of schools. A lot of people in my community don’t receive opportunities like this,” she said.

Students will be receiving full rides and partial scholarships with some worth thousands of dollars.

William Smith, Tennessee State University Assistant Director of Community College Recruitment, worked with school board members Miska Bibbs and Stephanie Love to make scholarship opportunities a reality.

“We just want to encourage them and allow them an opportunity for the students and their parents to make an early choice. Some of them may not attend TSU, but it does give them a selection,” Smith said.

Tuesday’s ceremony was just the beginning. Overall, 1,600 scholarships will be given to students across the district.

School principals, like Dr. Rodney Peterson of Martin Luther King College Prep, are glad that students are being highlighted for their hard work.

“This is often underlooked - the actual academic promise - and we have some great students in Frayser. So hopefully, this is a motivator for all the students in the school district,” Peterson said.

And students are proud of what they’ve accomplished.

“Hard work does pay off. Even if you think nobody’s watching, they are,” said Tolbert.

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