The Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation always has good news stories to share—and this one is especially heartening.
Deon Stephens, an Ezekiel Taylor Scholar and college freshman majoring in engineering, has been inducted into the Clark Atlanta University Honors and Scholars Program. Stephens completed his first semester with a 3.3 GPA.
“When Deon’s mom told me that he was being inducted into the Honors and Scholars Program, I was super proud, like he’s my own son,” Tenisha Taylor Bell, founder and president of the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation, is quoted as saying in a statement.
“This foundation does more than just write checks,” she continues. “We support our scholars in every milestone of their collegiate experience. Our presence shows how much we care. All of them are our sons.”
That’s certainly the feeling I got from Stephens when I spoke with him. Not only did he say that the scholarship helped to make college possible for him, but he hears from Taylor Bell periodically.
“Tenisha Taylor Bell checks up on me to make sure I’m doing OK.”
Since being inducted into the Clark Atlanta University Honors and Scholars Program, Stephens has been getting more involved on campus.
“It’s been an honor for me,” he said, “especially in light of the Society’s rich history and traditions which I’m still learning about.”
Freshman year is often a time of transition. It isn’t unusual for students to falter academically as they adjust socially, physically, and academically to a new environment. I asked Stephens how he was able to end his first semester on such a high note. Essentially, he took the initiative and sought help before he needed it, establishing informal mentoring relationships in the process.
“I got help early in the semester. I met upperclassmen who helped me and who are like mentors to me.”
Stephens intends to not only continue doing well academically, he wants to pay back the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation by paying it forward.
“The foundation has been a great influence on me,” Stephens says. “After I graduate I will support it.”
Clark Atlanta University, an HBCU established in 1988, is a consolidation of two parent universities: Atlanta University launched in 1865; and Clark College launched in 1869, one of the earliest HBCUs to exist.
To donate, visit the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation website.