Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

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University awards $181,108 in scholarships to area Birmingham high school students

“My point to you all is that you can come to ASU where history is made. We’re history makers at ASU and each one of you is a history maker in your own right, and so we want to welcome you all there with open arms. And if you immerse yourself in all that she has to offer, she will pour right back into you, and you too will stand one day and say there is no place like the Alabama State University.” President Quinton T. Ross Jr., Ed.D.
Jerobie Bailey
President Quinton T. Ross Jr. poses with area high school students in the Birmingham, Alabama area that received scholarships to attend ASU in the fall. He is joined by Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Malinda Swoope and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Freddie Williams.

Every year it is tradition for Alabama State University to hold a luncheon recognizing the high school counselors in Birmingham area who assist their students to earn a scholarship.  The tradition continues as high school students from around the city of Birmingham joined together in one of the Westin Hotel’s ballrooms to be recognized on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

This luncheon holds the title of Magic City Classic Counselor’s Luncheon due to the luncheon being one of the events of the Magic City Classic. According to Freddie Williams, Ed.D., assistant vice-president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions and Recruitment, the purpose of the event is to honor the counselors in the city of Birmingham and thank them for their hard work and dedication that they provide to their students.

“But also the help that they provide to Alabama State University,” Williams said. “Because we have to call them for transcripts and recommendations for students, and so this is our opportunity to say thank you. For our students today, this an opportunity to get a head start on scholarship presentations, and so we award some scholarships today and recognize our counselors that are in attendance today.”

Each year the students are granted a scholarship to financially support them in their time at the university. For 2023’s luncheon, scholarship money amounting to over $181,108.

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“It’s an academic based scholarship so the students had to meet a certain admissions requirement in order to get those scholarships that will be awarded today,” Williams said. “We gave a total of over $186,000 in scholarship awards to the city and county of Birmingham.”

The scholarships granted were the Black & Gold Scholarship, in which students would receive over $4,000 towards their tuition every year, and the Academic Incentive Scholarship in which students would receive full tuition and $500 going towards their books.  Third, was the Academic Excellence Scholarship where students received full tuition, $500 towards their books, and any other university fees would be paid for.  Last but not least was the Presidential Scholarship, where the students selected would receive full tuition and housing, $500 toward books, and any university fees.

A total of 25 high school students were given scholarships at the luncheon, and each student was joined either by their parents, their counselor, or both.

Jordan McCoy, a student from Fairfield High Preparatory School and one of the 13 recipients of the Black & Gold Scholarship was grateful for the opportunity.

“I really hope this scholarship boosts my future positively and that I learn new things about ASU while I’m here.” McCoy was also excited for the classic in a few days. “ASU is gonna win. They’re gonna whip those Bulldogs. It’s what we do.”

McCoy was joined by Venkesha Woods, his counselor and the career coach for the Fairfield City Schools District.

“I’m here with Jordan because he’s a scholarship recipient,” Woods said. “So he’s gonna be presented with an award to go to ASU. This is the college that he has chosen. He’s also a Fairfield High band member and he has aspirations to become a band member at ASU as well.” Woods was glad that McCoy could get a taste of the HBCU culture through the luncheon. “I think he’s gonna enjoy this experience. I bring kids every year, and they seem to enjoy it and they usually come to Montgomery and become a Hornet.”

Ezekiel Bevells who attends Cornerstone Schools of Alabama also received the Black & Gold Scholarship.

“I’m here because I was nominated by my counselor,” Bevells said. “And because I really wanted to go to ASU for forensics.  I heard that they had an on campus forensics lab, and I really strive to focus and investigate crime and stuff.”  The forensics lab was the main draw for Bevells to ASU. “I hope that I get a better understanding of ASU, the people here, and get to know everybody who’s in charge of ASU a little better.”

Bevells was joined by Jakiera Lucy, an university aluma who now works at Cornerstone Schools. Lucy was there in the place of Bevells’ counselor who couldn’t attend the luncheon.

“ASU invited some of our students to attend this event,” Lucy said. “And we’re all excited about the Magic City Classic and just everything that ASU and AAMU is bringing to the community so our students are excited to learn a little bit more about the colleges.”

Lucy hopes that events like the luncheon will get her students excited about attending historically black colleges and universities.

“Just so that they can embark on something that’s going to be super beneficial to them,” Lucy said.

Chanah Reese, who attends Ramsay High School, is one of the six high school students who received the Academic Incentive Scholarship.  She was excited about attending the event, especially since the scholarship will help her financially.

“It’s such a blessing,” Reese said. “Considering my academic state right now, it’s such a blessing.” Reese is still waiting for her acceptance letter, but she already has ideas of what she wants to pursue. “They don’t have my civil engineering major that I wanted to go into but they do have a criminal justice major.”

Layla Hildreth, who attends Shades Valley High School in the suburb of Irondale, was one of the six students to receive the Academic Excellence Scholarship.  She was accompanied by her mother and saw the luncheon as a chance to network with people at the university.

“As I’ve gone on tours, I just loved the campus and the environment,” Hildreth said. “All of my tour guides have been wonderful. I just know there’s gonna be a good atmosphere for me. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a great education and just enjoy.”

The only recipient of the Presidential Scholarship was Jamarion Hudson, who attends Carver High School in Birmingham.  Hudson felt good about winning the scholarship.

“It’s gonna help me pay for my college education,” Hudson said. “We don’t have a lot of money to pay for stuff like college.” Once he arrives at the university, Hudson is going to major in computer technology and doesn’t yet know what he wants to minor in.

Hudson’s counselor was Brad Hodge, the senior counselor for the Carver High School’s counseling team. During Hodge’s This is the first time one of Hodge’s student’s has won the Presidential Scholarship during his tenure.

“This is my fifth year of doing this event as a counselor for Carver High School,” Hodge said. “It’s one of my favorite events. I think what ASU does for the counselors, the students, and showing their appreciation back is a marvelous way of showing their love and appreciation. And giving scholarships early to the students to let them see they’re welcome and that ASU is there for them from the beginning, so I respect everything about this event.”

Hodge hopes that Hudson’s win will inspire other students at Carver to work hard and try to earn a scholarship, even if it is not necessarily the Presidential Scholarship.

“I like the fact that because of this early opportunity to see they’ve got a scholarship, other students can see. They may not receive the Presidential, but they can think ‘Well I’ve sat right beside him. I can go to college, too.’”

He continued.

“It changes lives, and some of these will be first-generation college students where education previously was not a priority. And so now they can see that they can actually get into college. That’s generational changing in my opinion, and to just see that and be a part of that, having this opportunity early so they can go back to school and have that certificate acknowledging that, I think that’s a great visual for other students.”

The event was attended by prominent student leaders at the university, including members of the Student Orientation Services (SOS), led by their president Nyla Weatherington, who performed a chant to get the atmosphere light and loose, and Landon Hale, president of the Alabama State University Student Government Association also attended the luncheon.

“I know how it is coming out as a high school senior looking to go to college,” Hale said. “I’m excited for your journey, and I hope that you all choose ASU.”

Miss Alabama State Univrsity Kayla Edwards, who was recently formally crowned in early Oct. 2023, also took the podium to share a few words with the soon to be freshmen.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here today and stand here today as Miss ASU.  I just want to thank you all for the hard work that you do, and everything that you pour into ASU is greatly appreciated because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here. The Golden Ambassadors would not be here, SOS wouldn’t be here. It’s so many people that work hard behind the scenes to give us what we need at ASU and I give thanks to every one of you.”

President Quinton T. Ross Jr., Ed.D., congratulated the students who all left with a scholarship, and showed his own appreciation to the counselors who guided them there. Ross came to the event late due to having to also attend the press conference across town.

“Let me just say to all of you, particularly our counselors, our supporters of our students, thank you for what you do on a daily basis,” Ross said. “As a former K-12 educator, this is a passion that we all have to make sure that our young people get to the next level.”

He continued.

“My point to you all is that you can come to ASU where history is made. We’re history makers at ASU and each one of you is a history maker in your own right, and so we want to welcome you all there with open arms. And if you immerse yourself in all that she has to offer, she will pour right back into you, and you too will stand one day and say there is no place like the Alabama State University.”

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