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Scholar Spotlight
Da’Kuawn A. Johnson is a 2013 graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and ranked in the top 5% of his class…

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Alumni Yearbook

Following are highlights of a few of our recent college graduates. These CollegeBound Scholars have worked their way through college, graduated and are now productive citizens in one of our country's greatest cities. Baltimore.

Chanie attended Baltimore City College, where she was enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program. Although Chanie was involved in many extracurricular activities, such as the Speech and Debate Club, the Art Club, the newspaper, and the National Spanish Honor Society, she never lost her focus on her studies, which helped her achieve the Honor Roll. She realized in high school that she wanted to go to college and needed a scholarship in order to be able to attend one. Therefore, she knew she had to "remain focused on my schoolwork and consistently maintain good grades." With college as her goal, she "was motivated to work hard and excel."

When she was awarded a "Last-Dollar Grant" from CollegeBound, Chanie began to attend some of its events and become involved with "the good work CollegeBound does." With the help of this grant, Chanie was able to attend Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, where she found her strengths in her business classes. She went on to major in economics/business and was awarded a BA in May 2004. Throughout her college career, CollegeBound became a part of her support system. CollegeBound continued to help Chanie financially, but, as important, kept in touch through calls and postcards, congratulating her on her achievements and informing her of upcoming events.

Chanie now employs the skills she learned in college in her job as a financial aid advisor at Towson University in Baltimore.

"In college, one of the main motivators for me was knowing that there were people behind me encouraging me to succeed and who took pride in my success. CollegeBound was so supportive when I went through school. Going to college and interacting with CollegeBound helped me develop into a confident, well-educated, young woman by showing me that exploration and exposure to new ideas and experiences, not only broadens one's ideals, but also brightens one's future."

Tracey was a Commonwealth Plus student at Western High School. She always knew she wanted to go to college, but she wasn't sure how she could afford it. She knew her mom would do everything in her power to help her, but she also knew this probably wouldn't be enough. In her senior year, she became involved with the CollegeBound Foundation, which provided her with college counseling, paid her SAT and college application fees, and also provided a cash award. Tracey was now on her way!

Tracey attended Sojourner Douglass College in Baltimore, earning a BA in Business Administration with a career specialty in Health Care Administration. She went on to Coppin State University in Baltimore, where she earned an MA in Adult and Continuing Education, Administration and Supervision. With her eyes on the stars, Tracey enrolled in a doctoral program at Morgan State University. She earned her Doctoral degree in Education (Community College Leadership) in May 2005.

CollegeBound was with Tracey all the way. Throughout her college career, CollegeBound always acknowledged her successes and always remembered her birthday and Christmas. This interest in her helped her to do her best. Once she graduated from college, Tracey found employment with CollegeBound. She gave back to the students of Baltimore by becoming a CollegeBound College Access Program Specialist and Program Administrator. She administered competitive scholarships and last dollar grants. Her work with CollegeBound helped her to focus her interest on education and to enroll in the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan.

Tracey is now the Learning Assistance Coordinator at the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. In addition, she is the CEO of Durant Group Enterprises, which provides college and financial consulting to students and their parents. Her tireless and highly motivated spirit also has found time to become part owner of T & A Wedding Consultants, a full service wedding coordinating company. Tracey even chairs the Scholarship Committee of the Baltimore Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She has truly fulfilled the promise that CollegeBound hopes to help all of its students achieve.

"When I reflect back on how CBF changed my life, both as a college student and as an employee, the one thought that I will always remember is how the mission always remains the same, to make a difference in the life of a child. Going to college opened so many doors for me. It provided me with opportunities to give a better life to my children. To CollegeBound: Words are simply not enough. Thank you! To young people: Always remember that while the journey to getting to college may not be easy, the rewards at the destination are immeasurable! May the Lord open up the windows of heaven and pour you a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive. There is no greater accomplishment than that of obtaining a college degree."

At Western High School, Laura was not only a serious and dedicated student who achieved a 4.0 GPA and ranked 5th in her graduating class, but she was also an active member of the student body. Laura was Treasurer of the National Honor Society, was a member of the yearbook staff and the Environmental Club, and swam on Western's swim team. Laura always knew that college was in her future, but she worried about her and her family's ability to pay for it. As Laura says, "fortunately" for her she became involved with CollegeBound in her junior year. CollegeBound enabled her to take the SAT's and then allowed her to apply to a wider range of colleges by waiving all the fees.

Laura finally decided on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. At Western H.S., Laura enrolled in an Introduction to Psychology class, which whetted her interest in this field and led to her choosing it as her major. While at UMBC, CollegeBound helped her to stay in school by "providing funds for tuition and books each semester." Laura was awarded a BA in Psychology in May 2003.

At present, Laura is working for a small government contractor in Alexandria, VA. She decided after college to "expand her horizons and take a job a little farther from home." She is also looking at graduate schools in the D.C./northern Virginia area.

"College was an incredibly important time for me. I met a lot of great people, made important networking connections, and now have a great job, which will lead to other opportunities. All of this may not have happened if it weren't for CollegeBound's financial assistance."

Upon entering Western High School, Harolyn had high aspirations. She wanted to work hard to achieve a high GPA in order to have her pick of colleges. She began on that path in the early years and participated in extra-curricular activities she enjoyed, such as the badminton team, the Poly/Western Marching Band, and the Native American Society. However, the loss of two very close friends during her high school years, and the impact this had on her emotional stability, caused her to lose some of her focus. Her GPA suffered, but she still was committed to attending college.

With the help of a CollegeBound scholarship, Harolyn was able to attend Morgan State University, with the idea of majoring in engineering. But, like so many of her peers, the independence of college life came at a price for Harolyn. She wasn't yet mature enough to avoid the temptations of the freedoms she enjoyed. She succumbed to the party life and had to transfer. She went on to Trinity College in Washington DC, from which she also transferred. Finally, through counseling from CollegeBound, she transferred to Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore, where she changed her major to Informations Systems Administration. She had come to realize that she was more interested in computers and business than science. CollegeBound advising helped her to focus on her studies so that she was able to earn her college degree.

Harolyn is currently working at Sojourner-Douglass College as an Administrative Assistant, while she pursues employment in her field.

"I believe that there is nothing that can stop you from completing your goals. I transferred twice and had two babies during my journey through college, and I was still able to finish school within four years. It took faith and the belief in a higher power that pulled me through. I thank those who believed in me and even those who didn't. I thank my family because I could not have finished without them."

From an early age, April's family encouraged her to become a successful and accomplished person. They guided her to apply to and become accepted at Western High School. While there, she knew that "finishing school was not an option, but an expectation." April was an active high school student. She participated in quite a few clubs and activities, such as the Yearbook Staff, the Gospel Choir, and the Stage Crew. In addition, she nurtured her budding interest in the theater and script writing by her participation in the Drama Club.

Her love of writing and her goal of becoming a screenwriter were factors in applying to the University of Central Florida in Orlando, which offered a B.F.A. in film. She was accepted there and, with financial aid from CollegeBound, was able to attend. It was difficult for April to leave her family and go so far away to college, but she kept her focus on her goals and was able to remain at UCF, where she graduated in July 2004 with a BA in Journalism and a BFA in Film.

After graduation, April needed to find steady employment in order to begin to pay off her student loans. She is currently working as a bank teller for Sun Trust Bank. However, she still writes and still has the same goal she expressed to CollegeBound back in 2000: "to become the youngest, black female to win an Oscar for Best Screenplay." CollegeBound wishes the same for her.

"College is extremely important to me. College offers a world perspective that is not easily ascertained out of that arena. College promotes growth, responsibility, tolerance of diverse peoples and cultures, and a respect of knowledge-many things not found in books."

Derrick attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, where he was not only a good student but also an engaged student. He participated in the Black Awareness Club throughout his four years and served as the Vice President of the Law Club during his junior and senior years. Having a clear goal of attending college and becoming a social worker, Derrick sought out the CollegeBound advisor at Poly to help him narrow his college choices and to fill out and submit his financial aid forms.

His senior year proved a difficult one for Derrick. He lost his great-grandmother to an asthma attack and was devastated by this loss. Still, with his career goal always in his mind, he was able to focus on his studies and complete the college application process.

Derrick attended The University of Maryland Eastern Shore for his first year but transferred to Howard University after that. He was able to receive a work-study grant there, which qualified as the self-help requirement for a CollegeBound scholarship. He was awarded a scholarship that September, and with the help of CollegeBound advisors, was able to apply for and receive other grants as well.

"Coming from a single parent household, my mom had to pay the tuition at Howard alone. With the help of CollegeBound, I was able to remain at Howard and graduate without being in debt."

In May 2004, Derrick graduated with honors from Howard. He was awarded a BA in Sociology with a minor in Secondary Education. In the fall of 2004, Derrick entered Howard's Master of Arts in Teaching (Early Education) program. Although Derrick is still interested in a career in social work in the future, right now his focus is on becoming an educator.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."— Thomas Edison

Janelle attended Western High School in Baltimore, where she focused on her schoolwork, maintaining a high GPA, and ignoring the pull of activities outside school. Due to her growing interest in law as a career, she participated in the school's Teen Court and AKA's Barrister's Club.

Janelle applied to and was accepted at Frostburg State University, where she majored in Justice Studies. Coming from a single-family household and not receiving scholarships due to her low SAT scores, "financing college was always a big issue." In the second semester of her freshman year at Frostburg, Janelle became involved with CollegeBound, which "constantly encouraged me through postcards and emails to keep my grade point average up. I always knew that CollegeBound was watching."

While at Frostburg. Janelle participated in several theatrical productions and found her real love in acting. As a result, she decided to pursue a career in acting instead of law. She graduated in May 2004 Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg and was accepted into the Masters in Fine Arts in Acting program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, which she is currently attending under a full scholarship. Janelle has already acted in two roles in the "university's main stage productions" of Much Ado About Nothing and The Voice of the Prairie.

During her summers off from college, Janelle completed internships with the United States District Court Judge, Andre M. Davis, and with the Baltimore Theatre Alliance.

"CollegeBound is a strong example of the African proverb, 'It takes a village to raise a child.' Thank you for everything, CollegeBound Foundation!"

Chenia attended Baltimore City College High School, where she participated in softball, basketball, and cheerleading. Knowing her goal was to attend college and prepare herself for a career which interested her and supported a healthy life style, Chenia focused on her studies and graduated with a 3.85 GPA. Her CollegeBound advisor helped her in this pursuit by aiding her in the college, scholarship, and financial aid application processes.

Chenia was accepted into Temple University, where the tuition payments became overwhelming in her first year. She contacted CollegeBound, which "stepped in at the right time and prevented my classes from being dropped. They provided me with a $2000 scholarship and, as long as I maintained good grades for the next four years, I was still eligible."

While at Temple, Chenia decided on a major in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. She transferred to Towson to pursue this major and graduated in May 2004. She also completed an internship with the States Attorney's Office in Baltimore City.

At present, Chenia is working for the Baltimore City government as a legal assistant. " I began applying for various positions about two months before I graduated, but I was not offered any positions until three months after I graduated. So it takes time." Chenia is somewhat undecided on a career right now but working in her present position should help her to decide if she wants to pursue a career in the law.

"With the goals I have for my life, college was never an option, instead it was a must. Now as I am growing more mature, I am realizing that even further education is not an option either, but a must."

Ever since she was a middle school student, Tameshia knew that she wanted to be the first in her family to attend a four year college and to study biology. Applying to and being accepted into the citywide Western High School was the first step in the process. At Western, Tameshia became an involved student. While maintaining her important GPA, she also was a member of the Art Club, Sisters for Black Awareness, and in her junior year founded the Sign Language Club. In addition, Tameshia found time to work on the newspaper staff of the Campus Crier. She began as a writer, moved on to become a staff editor, and ended her years at Western as a sports editor.

Although attending college was Tameshia's goal, neither Tameshia nor her mother knew how to obtain grants, scholarships, or even how to be successful in the application process. CollegeBound stepped in to help her. CollegeBound paid her SAT and application fees, provided much needed information for her and her mother in a financial aid workshop, and ultimately awarded her a scholarship. Tameshia was now ready and able to attend college.

Tameshia attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, where she fulfilled her dream of majoring in biology. During her years at UMES, CollegeBound provided further support "with a plethora of information on internships and jobs." Tameshia graduated in Dec. 2002.

"Presently, I am a Research Technician at Morgan State University. My research aims to understand the role of myocilin in Caenorhabditis elegans, a protein that, when mutated, causes glaucoma in humans. I have also applied to graduate school and in April 2004 bought my first house."

"College is very important for the advancement of your future."

Angela attended Western High School, where she was a member of the Sisters for Black Awareness and a library aide. Early on in middle school, Angela decided on a career goal to become a scientist. She knew college was essential but was not sure how this would be possible for her financially. In her junior year at Western, she became involved with CollegeBound Foundation and its resources through her CollegeBound advisor, Nicky Fortunato. "She helped me prepare for my SAT, the ACT, and to decide which colleges to send applications to that would give me the skills to attain a degree in biology." Ms. Fortunato also helped Angela tour colleges and provided a waiver for her college application fees.

With this help from CollegeBound, Angela was accepted to Notre Dame College in Baltimore, which she attended from 1995-97. "In order to stay in college, I had to find another way to help pay for tuition and I needed a part time job. Both of these opportunities were given to me by CollegeBound in the spring of 1995 and in the fall of 1997 respectively." CollegeBound also provided support for Angela to stay in college and do well through notes that let her know they were thinking of her. In 1997, Angela transferred to Towson University. She graduated in May 2001 with a major in biology.

Currently, Angela is the Director of Publications and Research Associate for Baltimore Curriculum Project.

"CollegeBound gave me the stability financially and the opportunity to graduate college and move on to bigger and better things."

At Baltimore City College High School, Sophia was very involved in the school community. While maintaining her Honor Roll standing, Sophia participated on the Swim Team, the Flag Squad of the Marching Band, and Rhapsody Modeling, but her budding interest in music was evident in her participation in the Show Choir, Concert Choir, and Chamber Ensemble. She won the Superlative Singer and the Most Humanitarian awards, and even managed time to become an exchange student in Germany and Ukraine.

Growing up in a single-family household in a "low-income, drug infested community," Sophia feels that she faced the same hardships that the average inner-city students encountered. College, however, would provide a path out of this environment, as well as helping her to find the focus for her career. College was an expensive proposition, but CollegeBound stepped in and awarded her a Last Dollar Grant. This enabled Sophia to attend the University of Fine Arts, where she finally decided "to study my passion-music, which then led me to realize my vision for the arts." Sophia graduated with a BA in Music in 2000 and went on to earn an MA in Music Business from New York University in 2003.

At present, Sophia is building a music consulting business by night and earning a living working for the CollegeBound Foundation by day. Working at both provides her with the opportunity to follow her passion for singing and her love of the arts and her 'desire to inspire youth to realize their dreams and go after them.'

"If you let someone create your world for you, they will always create it too small." Author Unknown

"College is the opportunity to expand your view of yourself, the world you live in, and how you fit in it. It is important that everyone have this experience even if it is not in college, but that is certainly a good place to start."

From an early age, Mariah developed a strong belief in herself and God. These beliefs helped her to overcome the many obstacles that life handed her. She is the product of a broken home, where an absentee father and mentally ill mother caused her to enter the foster care system. Just staying in school would have been an accomplishment for someone from her impoverished background, but Mariah not only did this but also became a star student at Western High School. She was elected class president in both her junior and senior years. In addition, Mariah was a member of the National Honor Society, a Student Government Representative, the Track Team Manager, the Gospel Choir Assistant Director, and a member of the Pep Squad. Despite her strong involvement in school activities, she still managed to maintain a 4.0 grade average and to do well on her SAT's.

With her eyes on admittance to an Ivy League school, Mariah first became involved with CollegeBound in her senior year at Western, when she "began taking the SAT, applying to schools, and looking for scholarships. CollegeBound provided the waivers for the SAT and application fees." With such assistance, Mariah was able to "take the SAT twice and apply to seven schools." She also applied for and received a CollegeBound scholarship.

Mariah was accepted at Cornell University. She initially was accepted into the College of Engineering because her dream was to "make lots of money upon graduation." However, she soon realized that she enjoyed counseling her classmates rather than finishing her car bumper design so she transferred to the College of Human Ecology, from which she was awarded a B.S. in Human Development in May 2004.

CollegeBound was a key factor in enabling Mariah to attend Cornell University. Mariah applied for and received many scholarships, which when added to the "significant" scholarship from CollegeBound equaled a full scholarship. This enabled her to continue her education "without the financial strain that often keeps underprivileged students from reaching their goals" and to graduate debt free.

Mariah is presently working in the field of social work, with plans to obtain her Masters in Social Work in the near future. Now Mariah is "serving my community just as I always imagined."

"CollegeBound helped a young, black, impoverished girl mature into a strong and ambitious woman of stamina, who is about to take her community for a spin through empowerment."

Growing up, although money was always an issue, Nick knew he must attend college after he graduated from Baltimore City College High School, where he played varsity soccer. Many people wanted to help Nick succeed, but help in attaining his goal finally solidified in his junior year at City, when a new organization named CollegeBound showed up at his high school. A CollegeBound representative spoke to his English class twice a month and helped the students with the financial aid and college application processes. "While her resources were limited, she worked hard and helped me a great deal."

Nick was awarded a Last-Dollar Grant, which enabled him to attend Northeastern University from 1994-5. In 1995 Nick moved back home and attended Catonsville Community College for two years and then transferred to St. Mary's College. During his junior year at St. Mary, Nick began to realize that law was not really a good match for his talents and interests. As a result, he decided to change his major to Political Science and Sociology. He graduated with a BA in this field in 1999. Nick has always felt that "without CollegeBound, I would not have been able to afford college."

After graduation, Nick entered the field of social work and has worked in this field since then. Since graduating from college, "I have always been involved in some sort of social work, although my focus has changed." Nick graduated in May 2005 with an MSW in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland.

"There are many forces that want to keep one's world small. dCollege allows you, if you choose, to learn how big the world is. CollegeBound made it possible for me to go to college."

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