‘Thank God for giving me the chance’: 19 graduates receive scholarships to HBCUs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thousands of high school students are preparing for the next part of their journey — but as many of us know, all too well, college can be costly.

However, a local mentoring program isn’t letting cost be a barrier. In fact, it’s the reason 19 high school graduates will be going to a Historically Black College or University on a scholarship.

Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole introduces us to some of the young men receiving the life-changing award, and the program that helped make it all possible.

RELATED: ‘It feels good:’ Jacksonville high school graduate scores full-ride to HBCU

“When I saw the email, I was just like, wow!” Anthony Harrell said.

“I was really excited when I got the news!” exclaimed Shaun Raymond.

I was so relieved because the waiting was over,” said Freddie Coleman.

Anthony Harrell, Shaun Raymond, and Freddie Coleman are feeling good about the next big step in their lives: college.

“I really want to make big things happen in my life,” Raymond told Cole.

The opportunity was made possible by their hard work and guidance from the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

The 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project was originally created by state Rep. Frederica Wilson in 1993 in Miami-Dade County. (At the time, Wilson was a school board member.) The mission of the program is to intervene in the lives of minority male youth, in an effort to provide them with positive role models and experiences that will empower them to make good choices and encourage healthy living, responsibility, respect and achievement.

The program came to Duval County in 2016 and is currently in 31 schools.

“They have played a huge role in my life. They have shown me so much, they have taught me so much. Everything that I learned from every single one of them — even the members in the program — they’ve taught me a lot,” Harrell explained.

“It was a lifetime moment, one that I was glad to share with my brothers, one that I will always remember, one that I can’t be more thankful for,” Coleman told Action News Jax.

Harrell and Coleman are both graduates of First Coast High School. They have both received an academic scholarship of $96,000 to Clark Atlanta University.

Coleman told Cole he plans to major in digital media arts.

Here’s what he’s looking forward to the most: “Experience. To meet new people, to branch out, and to definitely become my own man — because that was one of the reasons why I wanted to leave my house, to finally spread my wings and fly.”

Raymond is going to Tennessee State University on a full presidential scholarship.

They tell me a part of their success will be knowing that other young people will see this and know they can do it, too.

“I have a younger brother who is 13-years-old, entering the eighth grade, so I want to be a role model to him. I want to show him that you can do this too, there are bigger things... to look for. I want to be an inspiration to him and also to other young kids are there, that you can do this,” Raymond said.

Here is a list of the scholarship recipients provided by Duval County Public Schools. Congratulations to all recipients!

Atlantic Coast High School

  • Tyree Soares

Andrew Jackson High School

  • Shaun Raymond

First Coast High School

  • Freddie Coleman
  • Anthony Harrell

Jean Ribault High School

  • Mykal Bolden
  • Joshua Delphone
  • Devonte Greene
  • Donovin Green
  • Amari Gunder
  • Terrell Shealy

Riverside High School

  • Alfred Graham
  • Elijah Green

Samuel W. Wolfson School for Advances Studies and Leadership

  • Joshua Golden
  • Kristopher Mason

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