Local high school students were rewarded for their hard work when the president of Alabama State University made a stop in Columbus to hand out scholarships.
Columbus is the first of eight stops on ASU's 4th Annual President's Tour, and 11 area high schoolers are getting full rides along with a number of athletes.
With $250 million in investments on campus and new post-grad opportunities, Alabama State would be appealing to any prospective student, but for some, college is only a dream.
Interim President Dr. William Harris says, "No young person ought to be denied the right to an education simply because of money. We have a compact in the United States, and we've had one going all the way back to the 19th century where each generation takes care of the succeeding generation. We haven't been doing a good job of that recently, and we need to go back to those roots, and as far as we're concerned, we do a part of it with these scholarships."
Columbus native Ayana Jordan was one of the first President's Tour scholarship recipients and now, as a junior Finance major and Golden Ambassador, she travels with the group to share her story.
She says her academic scholarship "saved my life really because without it I wouldn't have been able to go to college. I didn't have a college fund, so it really made a difference. It allowed me to diversify myself, to learn more. I've been able to study abroad, I've interned in the Northeast, I've been a little bit of everywhere all because of Alabama State and the scholarship I received."
Johnathon Fritsky, the oldest of six, will be a first generation college student when he starts at ASU in the fall as a Computer Science major. He's the Salutatorian of his class at Spencer High School and says his parents were instrumental in his academic success. "There's been times I wanted to give up, and quit doing homework and projects," he says, "and they've pushed me to do better and keep on doing what I do."
Jordan remembers her pursuit of a scholarship, saying, "I pushed for it, I tried and stayed in touch with admissions. I met people, my mother reached out. We worked hard to make sure I got here and they said, 'We're going to work just as hard to make sure you stay here.'"
GPA requirements for academic scholarships at ASU start at 2.7. To view a full list of their scholarships, click here.