Thornton Senior Awarded Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy Scholarship by NC A&T Edwina Belizaire, a soon-to-be graduate of Nellie A. Thornton High School, was recently selected as a Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy scholarship recipient by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T). Each scholar receives a four-year renewable award that covers tuition and related fees, as well as housing and meals for up to four years. Belizaire is one of 20 incoming freshmen to receive the scholarship.
Edwina Belizaire This year’s Dowdy Scholars boast an average cumulative GPA of 4.3, a score of 1,352 on the SAT and a 30 on the ACT. On average, these scholars rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating high school classes,” reads a press release distributed by N.C. A&T.
Belizaire was also admitted into the university’s honors program, and will be housed in suite-style dorms and live among fellow honors students. She plans to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.
The application process for the Dowdy Scholarship, which began in December 2019, involved writing and submitting a two-page essay along with a resume, followed by in-person interviews at the university, located in East Greensboro, N.C.
Outside of her high school curriculum, Belizaire enjoys writing poetry, volunteering at the Mount Vernon Public Library, and helping to care for her three-year-old brother. Her experience of being an older sister was something she shared with the interview panelists when they posed the question, “What is your truth?” At the young age of 2, Belizaire’s brother was diagnosed with epilepsy. She shared that her parents are Haitian immigrants and struggled with the English language. Belizaire accompanied her parents and little brother to each of his doctor’s appointments during the diagnosis process, and she has helped care for him and tend to his needs ever since. The experience has taught her how to be independent, she said.
“I’m looking forward to attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in the fall. When I visited during scholars weekend, it really felt like a family; everyone smiles and says, ‘Hello.’ It’s a place full of Aggie Pride,” said Belizaire.
“And to anyone who is hoping to gain a full-ride, I want to say this: Always keep your eye on the prize. Research scholarship opportunities and don’t give up.”
Nellie A. Thornton High School Valedictorian Never Missed a Day of School.
Ashanti Palmer, a graduating senior at Nellie A. Thornton High School and the Performing & Visual Arts Magnet Program, is the school’s valedictorian for the Class of 2020. She has also achieved perfect attendance for the entirety of her educational experience in the Mount Vernon City School District, beginning in Pre-K and culminating in this, her senior year of high school.
Palmer has also received multiple scholarships in the sum of more than $430,000 to cover all expenses related to her four-year pursuit of a biomedical engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
Ashanti Palmer “Ashanti’s achievements in the Mount Vernon schools have been nothing short of remarkable,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent. “We strive to ensure our students graduate from here college- and career-ready, and Ashanti is a testament to that goal. Her perfect attendance record throughout her many years in the District have helped build a foundation of academic excellence that she will utilize in the next chapter as a student of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.”
Palmer received a generous financial aid package from RPI, including tuition assistance, full room and board, and a book stipend. She also received a $2,500 scholarship through the RPI’s Bridge Scholars Program, a six-week academic readiness course, which allows incoming students to participate in rigorous academic instruction in either calculus or physics and the development of skills necessary for academic and personal success at RPI. Palmer received an additional scholarship from the Mount Vernon City School District, awarded to each valedictorian of the district’s high schools, among others.
“Being named valedictorian feels good because it shows that all the hard work I’ve put in over the years has paid off, and that effort is being celebrated in a big way,”
said Palmer. “In terms of my perfect attendance, it wasn’t something that I sought out. I knew that showing up to school every day was important, because even missing one day can set you back. It wasn’t until 10th grade that I realized I hadn’t missed a day, and then I wanted to keep up the streak.”
Palmer plans to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering and Medicine, following RPI’s pre-med track. She says that students following RPI’s pre-med track with good grades are eligible to continue their education by pursuing an M.D. from Albany Medical College. However, RPI also has a high rate of acceptances to Ivy League medical schools, and Palmer hopes she is able to continue her studies at one of the eight prestigious schools with that distinction.
“Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has a great biomedical engineering program, and I’m looking forward to taking part in that,” said Palmer. “They also have a wonderful women’s mentoring program, which is something I value in an undergraduate collegiate experience.”