Seven APS Seniors Receive Full Scholarships to HBCUs


Pictured are: Front row: India Evans (Washington High), Courtney Harris (Drew Charter), Natasha Ellis (Washington High), and Heavenly Boykin (South Atlanta High). Back row: Barry Wright (Grady High), Alexius Williams (Therrell High), and Chris Dumas (KIPP Collegiate)

Seven graduating APS seniors are the recipients of full-tuition scholarships to several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country, thanks to the 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

The students are: India Evans (Washington High), Benedict College; Courtney Harris (Drew Charter), Bethune-Cookman University; Natasha Ellis (Washington High), Fisk University; Heavenly Boykin (South Atlanta High), Bethune Cookman University; Barry Wright (Grady High), Alabama State University; Alexius Williams (Therrell High), Benedict College; and Chris Dumas (KIPP Collegiate), Alabama State University.

Boasting partnerships with eight HBCUs, 5 Strong’s mission is to help increase the retention and graduation rates at HBCUs by placing cohorts of five students on HBCU campuses nationwide each year.

The HBCU partners include: Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Bethune-Cookman, Langston and Lincoln universities, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Fisk University, and Benedict College.

The 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation partners with select HBCUs to provide scholarships and ongoing mentorship and support to promising student leaders from the metropolitan Atlanta area. As part of the program, all 5 Strong Scholars must attend mandatory bi-monthly college ready prep sessions and each cohort is taken to visit the HBCU they will be attending.

The 5 Strong mentors provide support to scholars from “matriculation to graduation.”

There are currently 53 5 Strong Scholars on the partnering HBCU campuses.

These emerging leaders and scholars, who will enter in a cohort of five students and be known as 5 Strong Scholars, are supported over the course of their college career to ensure persistence and graduation in four years. Through academic, personal/social, and career development, students will positively impact their college campuses and be better prepared to compete in our global society.

“5 Strong strongly encourages our scholars to be actively involved on campus,” said Andrew Ragland, president and founding partner of the 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation, and counselor at Benjamin E. Mays High School. “Our students are not only academic scholars, but they are also resident advisers and campus ambassadors. They’re also involved in student government associations, members of sororities and fraternities and marching bands, as well as campus organizations and dance groups, to name a few.”

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