Chairman Reginald Luster, Esq. and winner Craig McFarland

Top African-American students receive academic scholarships

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The Florida Star | Submitted by: Hazel Yates-Campbell, Event Planner

(JACKSONVILLE, FL.)— On Saturday, June 6, 2020, eleven of Jacksonville’s highest ranking African-American students from Duval County Public Schools were awarded scholarships for academic excellence. This year would have been Gamma Beta Boule’s 36th Annual High Potential Youth Recognition Awards Program, normally hosted at the University of North Florida’s Lazzara Performance Hall. However, due to Covid19 restrictions, 913 students in 10th thru 12th grades with a GPA of 3.50 or above were mailed congratulatory letters and certificates.

The top nine highest ranking 12th grade students were awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Achievement Scholarship. The students were: Winner, Craig McFarland, Stanton College Preparatory School, $3,500; 1st Runner-up, Mona Freeman, Terry Parker High School, $3,000; 2nd Runner-up, Lauren Wilkerson, Paxon School for Advanced Studies, $2,500. The remaining runner-ups Jesselynn Russell, Darnell Cookman Middle/High School; Gashanti Bright, William M. Raines High School; Taliyah Burton, Atlantic Coast High School; Sara Cineus, William M. Raines High School; George Hunt, Robert E. Lee High School and Ja’miyah Levy, Jean Ribault High School, all received $2,000. Other scholarships awarded were, the Dr. Caroline Annette Cody Memorial Scholarship, awarded to Ashton Murray, Terry Parker High School, $2,000; and the Veterans Honors Scholarship, sponsored by Southern King Holdings, LLC, to Maya Victor, Robert E. Lee High School, $1,000.

Since its inception, the Gamma Beta Boulé Awards Program has honored over 500 African-American students in Jacksonville. And, through its partnerships have provided increased access to over one-million dollars in scholarship money for outstanding academic achievement and extracurricular community involvement.

The program is a joint venture between Gamma Beta Boulé, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Duval County Public Schools and the University of North Florida. A grant of $15,000 was received from Florida Blue. This year’s scholarship chairman was fraternity member Attorney Reginald Luster.