Four Lorain County Community College graduates will continue their education at The Ohio State University as part of the Young Scholars program. The students are also 2015 graduates of Lorain County Early College High School.
Three of the students – Taylor Bostic, Evelisse Weeks and Ricky Perez – were identified as sixth graders in Lorain City Schools and joined seven other Lorain students as the 2015 OSU Young Scholars class from Lorain. The program included weekly enrichment classes, a minimum GPA requirement, workshops and summer programs. The award waiting at the end was the promise of a four-year need-based
scholarship to OSU.
The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion Young Scholars Program aims to improve pre-college preparation, retention, and degree completion among high-ability academically gifted first generation students with financial need from nine of the largest urban school districts in Ohio: Akron Public, Canton City, Cincinnati Public, Cleveland Metropolitan, Columbus City, Dayton Public, Lorain City, Toledo Public, and Youngstown City. The program began in Lorain City Schools in 1989 and has awarded 10 students each year with the scholarship. The values of the need-based scholarships are calculated based on family size and income. In many cases, the scholarship covers full tuition. This year, four of the Lorain students are also Early College High School students.
Along the path from middle school, one of original class of 2015 recipients from Lorain dropped out and Jazmonet Jackson eagerly stepped in to the program.
“It was very surprising and exciting for me to get a second opportunity to join the program in my eleventh grade year,” Jackson said. “The scholarship is a good thing for my family because it leaves the door open for my younger brother if he decides to go to college, my family won’t have to pay as much for us.”
Jackson plans to major in psychology and minor foreign languages. She’s already taught herself Korean and Japanese, and she learned Spanish through LCCC courses. Jackson plans to become a psychologist or a lawyer. Whatever she decides, she feels ready to tackle her next degree.
“Early College is difficult but it’s given me the opportunity to get used to college level courses. I feel ready to move on to Ohio State,” Jackson said. Bostic, Jackson, Perez and Weeks, all 17 and all from Lorain, graduated on May 16 with a high school diploma from Lorain County Early College High School and an associate of arts degree from Lorain County Community College.
Early College High School is a unique program that allows high school students to earn both credentials – simultaneous and for free – on LCCC’s campus.
Through the OSU Young Scholars program, the four students have gotten to know each other well
and encouraged each other throughout their Early College experience. The promise of the scholarship acted as a carrot, dangling ahead of the scholars are they made their way through the rigors of Early College High School and reminded them to always to do their best, Bostic said.
“I was accepted in to the program and in sixth grade I realized that I want to go to college and knew I had to keep my grades up to continue with the program,” said Bostic, who plans to study biology/pre-medicine with the goal of becoming an ophthalmologist.
Gaining acceptance to the Young Scholars program seemed unbelievable at first for Perez and his family.
“My mom, my teachers, we were all blown away that I’d have this scholarship waiting for me after high school and that I will be able to attend Ohio State University,” said Perez, who plans to study mechanical engineering.
Jumping from middle school to a college experience at Early College was a welcome adventure, Perez said.
“I never really felt like I was in high school and I consider that a good thing. I’m a work-now, play-later person and Early College feels like my stepping stone into Ohio State University,” Perez said.
For Bostic, adapting to life on a college campus as freshman in high school was a bit of a challenge.
“It was a little difficult for me my freshman year, coming from middle school to this high school and college experience. My parents and teachers helped me juggle what I was supposed to be doing and what I wanted to do outside of class,” Bostic said.
In addition to applying themselves on campus Bostic and Jackson were also active in athletics at Lorain High. Bostic was the captain of the track team and Jackson was a cheerleader.
Weeks recalled what it was like as a sixth grader to apply for the program that will shape her future.
“I remember when I first applied, I checked the mail every day for my acceptance into the program and when I got it I was so excited,” Weeks said.
Now that her time at OSU is quickly approaching, she is ready.
“I have been waiting to attend OSU for six years, and now that it is only three months away, I couldn’t be any more excited. I am so blessed by this scholarship. I know it will save me a lot of financial stress in the future.”
Weeks plans to major in biology/pre-medicine with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
In addition to her studies in Early College, Weeks is also the senior class president and has organized various student events.
“My parents are so supportive. My mom has worked her whole life to get us where we need to be. When my dad took us into his arms, he made sure we have everything we need to succeed,” Weeks said.
For more information on Lorain County Early College High School, visit www.lorainccc.edu/earlycollege.