Crosby program honors participants
Standing on the cusp of a new chapter of his life is bittersweet for 18 year-old Israel Suarez.
“I’m going to miss high school and just school in general,” said the Winston-Salem native, who is headed to Brevard College in the fall. “But I am excited to continue on to the college experience.”
Suarez, the second of three children, credits the Crosby Scholars program with helping to broaden his horizons and prepare him for college life. A member of the program since the seventh grade, Suarez, who serves as Crosby Scholars president at Reagan, says he has been afforded many opportunities, from college tours to volunteering experiences.
As his mother, Isabella Costas, watched, Suarez along with more than 500 other high school seniors were feted on April 22 at the Benton Convention Center during the annual culmination program for the Crosby Scholars, a free college prep program for local students in grades 6-12.
“Our vision is to ensure that every public school student in Forsyth County has the opportunity to attend college,” said Michael Rogers, chairman of the Crosby Scholars Board of Directors. “…We really think we have a wonderful model of success, and we want to expand it to more kids.”
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Don Martin told the seniors to remember the lessons they have learned as Crosby Scholars.
“Wherever your career takes you, I hope that community service is a habit you take with you for the rest of your life because it really is what makes America great,” said Martin, who will retire in June after serving as superintendent for the last 18 years.
Jasmine Spencer, a former Crosby Scholar and Fox 8 News reporter, delivered the keynote address. The Kernersville native said the program helped her achieve her goal of attending Elon University, where she became the first African American anchor at the campus’ news station.
She told the students to take themselves seriously and appreciate the value of the gift they have been given as Crosby Scholars.
“Don’t forget the tools you have learned these past four or seven years,” Spencer advised. “These are not just tools for college – they’re tools for life.”
Many of the students who were recognized during the 2013 Crosby Scholars Community Partnership Senior Honors Galatook home scholarship money or book stipends. Christopher Healy, a senior at Reynolds High School, received the organization’s most prestigious honor, The Michael Nachman Scholarship, a $2,000 award that is renewable annually for four years. Healy, who is headed for Georgia Tech to study engineering and economics, has balanced an impressive array of activities as a high school student. He serves as captain of the school’s 4A Championship swim team and a member of the Key Club, in addition to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and becoming an Eagle Scout. He has earned As in every class he has taken in high school – including 15 advanced placement courses – and holds a 5.3 GPA.
Cleopatra King, an Early College of Forsyth student who will attend Spelman this fall, earned the $1,000 Joyce Kohfeldt Determination Award for penning a personal essay that focused on overcoming challenges that impeded her educational progress. Joshua Ramnath, a North Forsyth student headed to East Carolina University; Samantha Williams, a Reagan High student who will attend Western Carolina; Ian Josey, a Reagan student bound for UNC – Chapel Hill; and Avery Kirkman, a West Forsyth student who is still mulling over college offers, were finalists for the Kohfeldt award. They each received $500 scholarships.
Memorable essays also won $1,000 scholarships for a dozen Crosby Scholars from the local Better Business Bureau, which honored the students at its April 18 annual meeting.
Several other students were honored during last week’s program for their academic achievement, school ranking and/or longevity in the program.
“When people say our young people are not devoted, committed and loyal, I want you to see that we have something to combat that,” Mona Lovett, executive director of the Crosby Scholars Program, said in presenting the Executive Director’s Award to students who remained in the program and maintained good conduct at school for all six years. “We want to take tonight to congratulate the students on their stick-to-itiveness, their determination and their commitment to complete the program.”
Crosby Scholar Katerra Logan is headed for Yale University in the fall. Katerra is poised to become the first in her family to attend college.
“I’ve gotten so used to saying I’m going to Yale, but once you say it in front of a big group of people, I actually felt the magnitude of the situation, like, ‘Wow, I actually made it – all my hard work has paid off.’”
Katerra, the second of two children, has maintained a standard of excellence throughout her high school career. She is vice president of her
class and president of the school’s Crosby Scholars program, as well as a member of the track and field team, the National Honors Society and the National English Honors Society. She holds a 5.06 weighted grade point average and is ranked sixth in her class of more than 300. Katerra, who landed a $58,000-a-year academic (non-Crosby) scholarship to Yale, a near-full ride, says getting into a good school has always been a priority for her.
“I wanted to go to a prestigious university,” remarked the city native. “…When I graduate, I want jobs to come after me and I also want to experience a different culture.”
Her father, Karl Logan, said Katerra had always dreamed of attending Duke University, but God had bigger plans for her. The Wake Forest Baptist
employee added that the Crosby Scholars program has helped Katerra and her family “tremendously” in negotiating enrollment and financial aid.
“That was a tool that Katerra could use,” he said. “This program was a catalyst, I think, for her career.”