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College recruiters help dreams come true for local students

Maureen Kimani, a senior at Todd Beamer High School, gets a scholarship offer from Virginia State University during the Jan. 30 college fair held at Federal Way High School. Kimani plans to pursue a medical career. - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Maureen Kimani, a senior at Todd Beamer High School, gets a scholarship offer from Virginia State University during the Jan. 30 college fair held at Federal Way High School. Kimani plans to pursue a medical career.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

Dreams were made in the cafeteria at Federal Way High School on Wednesday morning when college recruiters passed out admissions and scholarships to hopeful seniors.

Students from all five Federal Way high schools attended the 11th annual Students of Color College and University Recruitment Day, aimed at giving college opportunities to students of color.

Admissions representatives from ten historically black colleges, most on the East Coast or in the South, set up booths and talked to students about school programs and scholarship opportunities. Students who were qualified received admission and scholarship offers on the spot.

Harry Tucker, a recruiting and travel coordinator for Virginia State University, came prepared to pass out scholarships to any student with at least a 3.0 grade-point average and a 1,000 SAT score. Students who exceeded those minimum requirements were offered larger scholarships, as were students who showed interest in pursuing engineering or science careers.

A steady crowd of students gathered at the Virginia State University table, where there were frequent grins and joyful squeals.

“I like seeing the expression on their face when they see that someone is in their corner,” Tucker said.

There are more scholarships available at the university for students who are successful there, Tucker informed students. There are currently two Federal Way High School graduates who attend Virginia State as a result of last year’s event.

“They’re doing very well,” Tucker said.

Shamika Robinson, a senior at Federal Way High School who attended the event, said she enjoyed the opportunity to meet the admissions counselors face to face.

“It shows them face to face the kind of person you are,” Robinson said. “They don’t get to see that when they’re looking at an application.”

Robinson said she had already been accepted into one college, but she came to the event to explore all her options. She received acceptances at the event to Bennett College and Johnson C. Smith University.

“I am very happy, very excited,” she said.

Christina Leufroy, also a senior at Federal Way High School, said she hoped to attend a historically black university. She applied for five of the 10 colleges at the event on Wednesday.

“This is the perfect opportunity. They came to us,” she said.

Halfway through the event, Leufroy had been accepted to three colleges: Virginia State University, Johnson C. Smith University and Bethune-Cookman College.

“It was exciting. I didn’t know what to expect really,” she said.

Cynthia Wainaina, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School, received a scholarship offer to attend Claflin University in South Carolina.

“I kind of knew I was going to get accepted into a college, but I didn’t know which one,” Wainaina said. “I do need a scholarship to pay for college.”

The Students of Color College and University Recruiting event, in its 11th year, continues to grow, said Barbara Clarkson, a volunteer who helped organize the event.

“These colleges are here to enroll students. This is not a fair. It’s a recruitment,” she said.

Many of the students at the event had grade point averages high enough to earn scholarships, but recruiters told them they needed to improve their SAT or ACT scores. Students will have an opportunity to re-take the SAT or ACT before the end of the year and could become eligible for scholarships.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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