College Board Surprises High School Seniors with $40K Scholarships While Sheltering in Place

School closures are impacting the lives of students and families in more than one way. And COVID-19’s economic impact has many parents and guardians questioning whether or not they will be able to send their child to college. In efforts to support students and families across the nation, the College Board recently announced a new scholarship worth $40,000.

The College Board Complete Your Journey Scholarship is open to high school juniors and seniors who complete six simple college planning steps (Build a College List, Practice for the SAT, Complete the FAFSA, Improve your SAT score, Strengthen your College List, Apply to College) to earn scholarships from $500 to $2,000. Students who complete all six qualify for the $40K Complete Your Journey Scholarship.

As the class of 2020 faces the realities of finishing out their high school careers at home, the College Board was able to surprise 25 recipients with its first-ever $40K Complete Your Journey Scholarship and bring them some much-needed news to celebrate. To make the moment even more special, the College Board worked with parents to have its CEO, David Coleman, and the Head of College and Career Access, Steve Bumbaugh, to make surprise Skype calls to as many students as possible.

Take a look at the heartwarming surprises

In a statement released by the College Board, Coleman said, “To those students who may have counted themselves out of scholarship opportunities, this program is for you. There is so much more talent out there than we can see,” said Coleman. “We want all students to see themselves as scholars, no matter where they began. College planning does not need to be daunting. These 25 students took one simple step, and then another, until they reached their goals. We encourage the class of 2021 to follow their lead.”

Claudia Gore of Newport News, Virginia, was excited and filled with gratitude and thanksgiving when College Board CEO David Coleman called to surprise her son Nyzaiah with news that he was a $40,000 recipient. Gore shared, “He’s not going to walk [at graduation], he can’t go to prom. All those special moments have been taken away. This is a moment to just see his face light up. He’s worked so hard, he deserves it.” Nyzaiah, who wants to study law and African American studies, says his father is especially proud of his passion for learning, because members of their family “do not usually go to college, much less finish high school.”

Meet Three of the Winners

Nyzaiah Gore — Newport News, VA, undecided but wants to attend UVA: 
College Board
(Courtesy: Nyzaiah Gore)

Gore sits on his school’s leadership team and is the student representative on the district school board. He’s a member of the Warwick High Principal’s Advisory Committee, Model UN, and the Battle of the Brains academic team. The district asked him to be a student speaker at orientation for new teachers. He writes poetry and he’s known around school for surprising others. Eighty percent of students in Nyzaiah’s school are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Many students feel they won’t get to go to college because of the cost. His principal says this scholarship will be “life-changing.”

“My college career is important to me because as a lawyer, I want to be able to advocate for those that are misrepresented, while African Americans undergo racial discrimination and prejudice within the law, I believe that I would be able to help the misfortunate. Outside of that, college is another opportunity to learn— but not only that, college is another opportunity to shape my learning! My dad always told me that “this isn’t normal”— he was referencing the fact that people within my family do not usually go to college, much less, finish high school. My parents know who I am, the fact that I love to learn has only motivated them to push me harder.

Trinity Scott, Chicago, IL, undecided, wants to attend UNLV:
College Board
(Courtesy: Trinity Scott)

Growing up in a family of six, Scott shouldered a lot of responsibility as a caregiver to her younger siblings while her parents worked multiple jobs to support the family. Preparing after-school snacks while watching a lot of HGTV, Scott says she discovered two things she’s now passionate about, real estate and baking. “The Opportunity Scholarships helped me throughout my college application journey. The College Board gave me simple tasks to help with my college application while awarding me with scholarship raffle entries. The College Board Scholarships are a great opportunity that also keeps you on track for pursuing a higher education.”

Reflecting on the moment she found out about the $40,000, Scott said, “I was speechless. My mom made fun of me because I’m a talkative person, and for once I was speechless. I also happy because my hard work finally paid off. And the last thing I felt was pride because a lot of black youths don’t get the opportunity to reach where I’m at. So, you know I’m repping that Black Girl Magic!”

Angelique Hall – Beacon, NY, will attend SUNY Plattsburgh: 
College Board
(Courtesy: Angelique Hall)

In her previous high school, Angelique was a member of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, the National Honor Society, and the School Band. She had a difficult time when she had to change schools during her high school career, but she quickly bounced back and has excelled academically and socially. As her school counselor put it, “Angelique has grit.” She is a member of the National Honor Society, a Class Advocate, and maintains a rigorous academic workload and is in the top 10% of her class. Angelique enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and narratives. At a recent poetry slam, Angelique’s principal was moved by her poem about identity and acceptance. She hopes to pursue a career as an author and entrepreneur. Her leadership recognitions include being named Class of 2020 Advocate, Outstanding Cadet, Cadet Captain, NYSSMA, Tuskegee Airman Inc. AFJROTC Cadet Award, Flight Commander of Alpha Flight, Flight Sergeant of Alpha Flight, Plight Physical Training NCO of Alpha Flight.

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More than 500,000 students from all 50 states have joined the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program since it launched in December 2018. In addition to the 25 $40,000 Complete Your Journey winners, nearly 4,000 students from 48 states, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, earned $3.6 million in smaller scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2,000.

Click here to learn more about the College Board’s scholarships.