Seniors at an almost-exclusively Black high school in Memphis, Tennessee, earned more than $80 million in university scholarship offers.
ABC News reported Friday (April 21) that more than 40 Whitehaven High School students contributed to this number with at least $1 million in offers each. A call to determine the total number of students who earned scholarships was not immediately returned. Per the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, Whitehaven’s student body is more than 99 percent Black.
One student, 18-year-old Zariah Nolan, earned nearly $9.6 million in scholarships, including 17 full-ride packages. Nolan told ABC News that she applied to nearly 100 colleges across the country using application packages like the Common Black College Application, which allows prospective students to submit to 51 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with one set of materials.
She will attend one of those HBCUs, Dillard University in New Orleans, this fall. “My principal always told us you never know where life can take you so apply anywhere just to see,” Nolan said. Her principal, Vincent J. Hunter, added that the 1,765 student-strong high school stands out thanks to its all-alumni staff. “It’s important for us to be our brother’s keeper and we work hard to make sure our kids are prepared for life after graduation,” says Hunter, who also attended Whitehaven.
Kiki Baker Barnes was chosen as the 2015 Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Directors. Since 2006, Dr. Barnes has been the director of athletics at Dillard University in New Orleans.
Dr. Barnes also serves as president of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. She is currently conducting research on the relationship between coach’s influence, student engagement, and student-athlete success.
“Dr. Barnes is not just a leader at Dillard,” said Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University. “She is a leader for our conference and for athletics nationally. Her energy and initiative have been great, and we are proud of her accomplishments.”
Dr. Barnes holds a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of New Orleans. She also earned a master’s degree in communication and media studies at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
“More than just a necessity, given the percentages of men to women at Dillard, immediately we just thought how can we raise the awareness of the education to be had at an HBCU [which] is like none other,” said Lyte.
According to Dr. Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University, what began a simple meeting of the minds turned into a full fledged opportunity for Lyte to leverage her renowned platform, and implement change on Dillard’s campus.
Dr. Kimbrough passionately shares how he and Lyte’s partnership began.
“Last April MC Lyte’s foundation president, Lynn Richardson, reached out and said MC Lyte wanted to meet with me. I told her okay, let me know what her schedule looks like and I will come out. She said no, we’re coming to you. So they came and indicated that MC Lyte wanted to do something with HBCUs, and has done a scholarship in the past (U. of Wisconsin). So, the idea was to do scholarships for young men to attend Dillard, explains Dr. Kimbrough, “A pleasant surprise. But we kept talking and they wanted to be more involved in Dillard. So we ended up talking about doing a course- I Cram to Understand: Hip Hop, Sex, Gender and Ethical Behavior. It was already on the books at Dillard (minus hip hop) so we just refreshed it. She came and did an open lecture for the campus plus a special session for the class.”
Lyte lectured the course at no costs to the university and stayed in touch with Dr. Kimbrough after the lecture to further discuss the schools needs and how she and her platform may be of assistance.
“Because of her sincere interest, we thought it would be great to have her be part of the board of trustees, said Kimbrough, “ It will be a new experience for her, and I think a good one to learn more about higher education, and she has a platform that can benefit Dillard.”
Lyte speaks highly of Dr. Kimbrough’s sincere passion as well, and both seem excited for the fruits of their blossoming partnership.
“He’s [Dr. Kimbrough’s] always had a really great relationship with hip hop in general, with the culture and a mass amount of respect for what it is that we do, said Lyte,“It feels like a natural collaboration.”
Through this particular initiative with Dillard, the two, are seeking to bring male enrollment numbers up and improve learning outcomes. Lyte believes Dr. Kimbrough’s moxie and dynamic understanding for the #EducateOurMen cause, makes Dillard the perfect inaugural home for the initiative.
“For me, there is no other school to do it with but, Dillard,” said Lyte, “Education gives one opportunity, gives an outlook and allows someone to dream of something better– of making their circumstances better, of providing for their families and providing for their children.”
Lyte explained her reason for becoming an artist was always to inspire others and to use any influence gained along the way to shine light on issues that deserved acknowledgment– and hopefully with the help of Dr. Kimbrough, and Dillard University, they will do just that, for a community of people, who Lyte believes, have been overlooked.
Recently, she oversaw the 2015 graduation where acclaimed actor Denzel Washington was the commencement speaker and received an honorary degree.
ATLANTA – A popular and influential collection of artwork featuring African leaders and rulers has returned for public viewing at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Valued at more than $1 million, “The Great Kings and Queens of Africa” collection of paintings was commissioned by Anheuser-Busch in 1975. Today, the company announced it has donated the entire collection to UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the country’s largest minority education organization, which will distribute pieces from the collection to six UNCF member colleges and universities: Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Xavier University, Dillard University and Benedict College.