eNewsChannels: Gates Millennium Scholar

LAKE CITY, S.C. /eNewsChannels/ — NEWS: The Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity (Marietta, Ga.), a nonprofit assisting students from underserved and underrepresented communities with college and financial aid planning, announced today that Florence County School District 3 College Planning Cohort student, Mikayla Hanna, has been selected as a 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, the first in the history of the school district.

Florence County School District 3 is located along the infamous South Carolina “Corridor of Shame” — a corridor along Interstate 95 representing some of the highest poverty communities and most underfunded schools in the country. Of the 270 students who began high school in the class of 2015, only 140 students entered the twelfth grade.

Mikayla, whose biological mother died when she was nine-years-old, together with 19 other students participating in a June 2014 college planning cohort, from one of the state’s poorest communities, have been admitted to over 60 colleges and universities and earned nearly $3 million in college scholarships and institutional aid. Mikayla has also been admitted to the prestigious Meyerhoff Scholars program at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County, where she will enter into a joint MD/Ph.D. program.

Yvonne Scott, the Director of Student Services, with the support of a South Carolina High School Graduation Grant hoped to increase the high school graduation rate and expand students’ postsecondary opportunities by offering dual enrollment classes with local colleges and universities, and providing summer enrichment opportunities through residential on-campus programs. In June, 2014, Ms. Scott brought in consultants, Mychal and Nina Wynn, from the Foundation of Ensuring Access and Equity, a Marietta, Georgia-based nonprofit to conduct a 3-day college planning boot camp.

Mychal Wynn, the author of 27 books, and his wife Nina, also lead the Education Ministry at the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia have assisted several students, including their son (2012 Gates Millennium Scholar), in gaining acceptance into the country’s highest dollar scholarship program.

Despite Mr. and Mrs. Wynn extending an invitation to the entire 140-student Lake City High School senior class, only 20 rising seniors chose to participate in the cohort and attended the 3-day June 2014 boot camp.

Laura Hickson, announced as the new Florence County School District 3 superintendent to replace retiring superintendent, Dr. V. Keith Callicut, said, “Getting our students to not only think about college, but to engage in the level of work needed to successfully prepare for, and navigate their way into college will require a cultural shift. The 20 rising seniors attending our first college planning boot camp have provided a catalyst for this cultural shift. Their extraordinary outcomes have dispelled any doubts among students, teachers, parents, and the community of the postsecondary options available to our students.”

More information: .

Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity, P.O. Box 70457, Marietta, GA 30007.

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