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Boys & Girls Club celebrate more than 100 students heading to colleges with over $17M in scholarships

"My dreams are possible as long as I work hard."
Posted at 10:28 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 23:28:21-04

MILWAUKEE — The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee celebrated 130 students committing to academic success at universities and colleges across the country on Thursday.

The organization's Graduation Plus program, which helps guide high schoolers from 9th grade towards college, currently serves 400 students in Milwaukee.

The class of 2022 will be the first to graduate having spent half of their high school career in a pandemic.

"The pandemic was the biggest adversity I didn't think I'd face in high school, but I really kept thinking about my end goal, which was graduating high school, attending an HBCU," said Amillia Bell, a senior at Rufus King High School

Bell overcame the pandemic hurdles and is set to attend North Carolina A&T this fall.

For this group of seniors, they managed to tackle the burden of accumulating debt through scholarships. So far, they've earned more than $17 million in scholarships.

"We don't believe that the reason kids choose not to go to college is because of money and so we make sure we are intentional about scholarship development and access," said Andre Douglas, Senior Director of Graduation Plus.

Ta'Naija Fair is a testament to that. She will be attending the University of Chicago on a full-ride scholarship.

"I'm a first-generation student and I come from a single mother household, so I didn't really have those support systems to help me navigate the college process," said Fair.

Her mother, Tina Mosley, shared that her daughter has been chasing a dream of becoming an engineer since she was just 4-years-old.

"She enrolled herself into the Boys & Girls Club and the other scholarship programs without even asking me about it and so that's what made me really smile," said Mosley.

For Ta'Naija, she realizes her future will shape generations to come.

"Part of me going to college is knowing that my dreams are possible as long as I work hard and so it's been really important to change the story of my family and end that cycle of poverty and to do something new and do it for myself more than anyone else," said Ta'Naija.

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