Daudreanna Baker of Hazlehurst, Miss. is the winner of the 2018 Tom Joyner Foundation® “Full Ride Scholarship” that will cover full tuition, room and board (on-campus only) and books up to 10 semesters.
Baker, who is the oldest of four raised by a single mom at her home about 30 minutes south of Jackson, Miss., plans to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she plans to become a Chemistry/Pre-Med major.
Tom Joyner, the Foundation’s chairman and founder, announced his scholarship today during the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which airs on 100 stations and reaches a broadcast and digital audience with more than 10 million listeners every week. Baker, who is graduating from Hazlehurst High School, was selected from hundreds of applicants from around the country for the scholarship.
“I want to help somebody, help themselves,” Baker says. “My mom is a nurse and I always watched her help people and I always appreciated that. I just feel that’s my calling. I want to be extraordinary.”
Baker says she wants to become an orthopedic surgeon. She has been class president, editor of the school’s newspaper, the Indian Inquirer, serves on the Mayor’s Youth Council and has been a mentor at the Boys and Girls Club. In her essay, she talked about one of her classmates who was expelled and is now an inmate at Mississippi State Penitentiary. “I need to go to school so I can show my community that you can do other things,” she said during her scholarship interview. “I want to show my community that you can do better.”
Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated morning radio show, said, “Daudreanna, I love your passion to help people.”
In his recommendation for the scholarship, Burnell Ramsey said, “She is one of the most brilliant minds I have ever encountered. She is one student who I am sure will go on to do great things in life.” Robin Brumfield of Hazlehurst High School wrote, “I have great respect for her as a professional. … Daudreanna is driven, engaging and dependable. … she is always learning and growing, an impressive strength that will continue to serve her well in college and beyond.”
Baker is our eighth Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholar. Previous winners include Z’Kijah Fleming, who is attending Howard University, where she is majoring in business. Morgan Brown, who is attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., pursuing a career in psychiatry; JoAnn Jones who is attending Winston Salem State University in Winston Salem, N.C., pursuing a career in nursing; Titus Ziegler Jr. of Atlanta’s Inman Middle School who served as a commander of the elite Junior ROTC Color Guard and Cheyenne Boyce of Detroit’s Cass Technical High School, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Spelman College in Atlanta was a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia and now works at the Confucius Institute in Washington, D.C. Blaine Robertson of Reserve, La. graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in history with a minor in secondary education. The first winner, Britney Wilson of Brooklyn, N.Y., recently passed the New York Bar. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University. Ms. Wilson has worked in the New York offices of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and is now a Bertha Justice Institute Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
To retain the scholarship, students had to meet the required academic standards each semester. Graduating high school seniors applied for the scholarship by going to TomJoynerFoundation.org. To be eligible, students had to meet the following criteria: 1) Be a United States citizen; 2) Be a current high school senior attending school in the United States. Each applicant must complete high school in the spring of 2018; 3) Have a minimum high school grade point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 grade scale, excluding home school studies) and minimum SAT score of 1400 (combined math essay and verbal score) or ACT score of 30; 4) Applicants had to apply and be accepted to an HBCU by July 1, 2018; 5.) Applicants had to demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in community service and extracurricular activities.
Founded in 1998, the Tom Joyner Foundation has raised in excess of $65 million to help keep students enrolled in black colleges. It has assisted more than 29,000 students and worked with more than 100 HBCUs. To learn more about the Foundation, go to TomJoynerFoundation.org.
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