Outstanding African-American students in the Duval County Public Schools were honored for academic excellence and community impact at the 34th annual High Potential Youth Recognition Awards Program last night at the University of North Florida Fine Arts Center Lazzara Performance Hall.
The top eight high school seniors received one-time academic scholarships and include Sandrilla Awad Elkarim, Atlantic Coast High School; Eric Mitchell, Paxon School for Advanced Studies; Alonna Turner, Alexis Williams and Victoria Laws, Robert E. Lee High School; Nkosi Alexander-Williams, Sandalwood High School; Mahelet Dalke, Samuel W. Wolfson High School; and Sydney Lewis, Stanton College Preparatory.
Alexander-Williams and Awad Elkarim are also committed to attend UNF and are recipients of the Jacksonville Commitment Scholarship. Awad Elkarim has a 4.0 recalculated GPA and was also presented the Dr. Caroline Annette Cody Memorial Scholarship Award, while Alexander-Williams, who graduated with a 4.73 recalculated GPA, enters the UNF Hicks Honors College with an associate’s degree.
UNF presented scholarships along with the Dr. Caroline Annette Cody Memorial Foundation, Dr. James A. Joyner, III Memorial Foundation, The Gary Legacy Scholarship, Ralph and Jeannine Frasier Scholarship and the Jack and Jill of America. A new scholarship, the Conqueror’s Award, was awarded to honor exceptional students with learning disabilities who have conquered some of life’s greatest challenges.
More than 830 students with a GPA of 3.50 or above were invited to the program and were recognized with gift certificates and prizes. Melanie Lawson, WJXT Ch. 4 morning anchor, served as the master of ceremonies, while Charles Griggs, 100 Black Men of Jacksonville president, gave the keynote speech.
The program is a joint venture between UNF, DCPS and Gamma Beta Boule, the local member boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Business partnership donors are PGA TOUR, Inc., Florida Blue, The Gary Firm, The Renaissance Group and Southern King Holdings, LLC.
Since its inception 34 years ago, the annual High Potential Youth Recognition Awards Program has honored the top African-American students in Jacksonville. Through partnerships and joint ventures, it has provided more than $1 million in scholarship money to honor students for outstanding academic achievement and extracurricular community involvement.