Community Scholars Program announces recipients

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    This week 42 high school seniors will report to the principal’s office, but these students are not in trouble.

    Admissions counselor Victoria Herrera and Community Scholars Program director Timeka Gordon are surprising the 2015 Community Scholars Program recipients with good news.

    The Community Scholars program grants full-ride scholarships to students in the DFW area. Herrera said the application process is competitive.

    “Making the final decisions is the hardest job because your heart goes out to all of the students that apply,” Herrea said.

    To qualify, students must be admitted to TCU and attend North Side, Diamond Hill, Trimble Tech, South Hills, OD Wyatt, Dunbar, Poly, Sam Houston, Lincoln, DeSoto, or Carter high schools.

    This year, the 11 schools that are eligible to apply have at least one recipient. Herrera notified the high school counselors Friday. The counselors do not know the names of the recipients, just the date and time of when Herrera and Gordon will visit the school.

    “When we award these students, the high schools make a big deal out of it,” Herrera said. “Some schools have cakes and balloons and some will call TV stations.”

    After processing applications, 81 students were interviewed and 42 students were selected.

    “We’re having to say yes to some and no to others,” Gordon said. “This week is filled with a lot of emotion, but at the end of the day I’m excited for the ones we were able to say yes to.”

    Upon receiving the award, students accept the scholarship by signing a contract. It asks them to maintain a certain GPA, attend academic workshops, and partake in community service. If any of these requirements are not fulfilled, they are at risk of losing their scholarship, Gordon said.

    “They desire to reach their fullest potential,” Gordon said. “There is this innate characteristic in all of them that they can be the very best they can be.”

    The Community Scholars Program began in 2000 as an initiative by Chancellor Michael Ferrari to add diversity to the TCU campus. Gordon says the program recruited students from high schools in the DFW area that did not have TCU applicants.

    “It is often referred to as a minority scholarship program,” Gordon said. “But it is not exclusive to minorities. It is a scholarship program open to any student at the 11 schools.”

    Dean of Admissions Ray Brown said the program influenced his choice in moving from Milwaukee, Wis. to Fort Worth. He began his tenure at TCU in 1999 and watched the program grow.

    Brown credits the Community Scholars Program as a catalyst for the increase in minority students. Brown said since 2000, the number of minority TCU students has increased from 9 to approximately 20 percent.

    “It was the Community Scholars program that pushed me over the edge to come here,” Brown said. “I call it the jewel in this institution’s crown.”