By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer
DOWNTOWN - Carrie Jones, a Western Hills High School graduate, is living out her college dream as a freshman at Howard University in Washington, D.C., thanks to a $12,500 scholarship from Greater Cincinnati businesses.
"When I was awarded that scholarship, I was like, 'Howard, here I come,' " the 18-year-old said.
Jones, who graduated third in her class last year, received the scholarship through the Greater Cincinnati African American Scholarship Fund. The program, in its second year, is part of an effort by businesses to improve the community through education.
Local businesses have raised more than $250,000 this year, it was announced Thursday. Last year, the program raised more than $200,000 and awarded scholarships to 32 students from 14 high schools.
The goal is to create a $1 million endowment, which will continue to self-fund future scholarships, said Paula Kollstedt, spokeswoman for GE Aircraft Engines, which helped launch the scholarship fund.
"For the second year now, Greater Cincinnati is making a difference where it matters most - educational opportunities for African-American youth in our community," said Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of GE Transportation. "These results show what a great city can do when it pulls together."
African-American high school seniors in the Greater Cincinnati area who will graduate in 2004 can now apply for the scholarships. Winners are chosen based on academic achievement, civic and community involvement, leadership, extracurricular activities/employment and financial need.
Jones, who plans to go to medical school, said the scholarship made her feel like her efforts during high school were worthwhile.
"When you're going through high school and doing your work and doing all these activities for free and volunteering, you're like, 'What am I doing this for? I'm not getting paid,' " Jones said. "But this is my payoff. This is my reward for putting in all that hard work."
Students interested in receiving a scholarship application can contact their high school guidance counselors, apply online at www.gcaasf.com or send a written request - postmarked by March 1 - to: Greater Cincinnati African American Scholarship Fund, C/O GE African American Forum, P.O. Box 62723, Cincinnati, OH 45262.
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