One student has watched her mother battle sickle cell disease and hopes to dedicate her career to helping others with illness. The other student moved to Georgia from Ghana, Africa, when attending school became too challenging at home.
And in the midst of their struggles, both have maintained a commitment to their academics and school involvement at Glynn Academy.
Quiniya Harris and Eunice Quartey, who will both soon graduate from Glynn Academy, will be the first recipients of the Wilson & Friends Scholarship, established this year by Glynn Academy alumna Jazmine Wilson.
Wilson hoped to give back to the community by helping support students seeking higher education. Her own higher education career was launched by community support and scholarships.
Harris and Quartey have earned the scholarships they’ll receive, she said, and they shared powerful stories about themselves and their families.
“It was amazing to see how they maintained their commitment to their academics as well as extracurricular activities,” Wilson said.
The scholarship applications, reviewed by a committee Wilson formed, required high GPAs, good standardized test scores and an essay that explained the applicant’s personal story.
“Most of (my essay) was talking about how I don’t stay with my real parents and how my mom has sickle cell,” Harris said. “And then I talked about how I would like to help because I want to do pediatric nursing to help kids that have illnesses.”
She plans to attend Savannah State University in the fall and study early childhood education.
Quartey also shared her journey, which began in Ghana, where her family still lives.
“I’m from Ghana, and I don’t live with my biological parents. I got a adopted by my aunt, who’s taking care of me now,” she said. “Life was just really hard in Ghana. I couldn’t go to school for a year because it was so expensive.”
Her aunt, who lives in this area, offered to help her move to Brunswick and attend Glynn Academy, where her education would be free.
“So I had to leave my biological mom, who is very supportive,” Quartey said. “She just gave everything up. She sold her clothing, went to the market, everything, just to get me a ticket to come to America.”
Quartey said she plans to dedicate her life to being good and seeking success, in order to return that favor and help her mother. She will attend Georgia State University and study sports medicine.
Both students will be honored for winning the scholarship at the school’s honor ceremony Sunday. Wilson said she plans to continue the scholarship program next year. Anyone interested in supporting the effort can email Wilson at email@example.com.
Both Harris and Quartey said the Wilson & Friends scholarship will help begin the next phase of their lives.
“I’m just really thankful,” Quartey said. “I was very thankful for this scholarship.”
Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.