Seniors at three Atlanta high schools get surprise scholarships from university president

ATLANTA — Seniors at three Atlanta high schools got a huge surprise Tuesday: scholarships from the college of their choice.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen went to Booker T. Washington High School, one of the stops on the tour set up by Alabama State University.

The students who received the awards had no idea what was about to happen.

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The big bus that rolled up to Booker T. Washington High School in southwest Atlanta on Tuesday carried a president who was bearing gifts.

Alabama State University President Quinton Ross brought scholarships to Washington High to help students from Atlanta’s first Black high school who are headed to the nation’s oldest HBCU.

“This is our annual President’s Tour from the Alabama State University, where we bring the university to all those students who are interested in coming to Montgomery, Alabama,” Ross said.


Principal Angela Coaxum-Young was excited to see the hard work pay off.

“We’re in this work because we want to get them to the final product. So, when we have partners who help us and commit to that with dollars, it makes it all worthwhile. It’s extremely exciting!” she said.

The scholarship recipients — all three of them planning to attend ASU — worked hard to get here, but none of them knew this was coming. The awards were a complete surprise.

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“I was told to come to school dressed up. I didn’t know what for though,” scholarship winner Gabriel McKenzie said. “My counselor emailed me. Alabama state is coming. I was like, ‘OK, I guess we’re getting dressed to impress.’ And then, a full ride happened!”

The university awarded a dozen surprise scholarships to students at three Atlanta high schools today.