A new nonprofit aims to help disadvantaged high school students from New Hanover County pursue a college education, according to a news release Thursday.
Community leaders have formed New Hanover Scholars (NHS) with the goal of putting high school students on a pathway to success and making a positive impact on the local community, the release stated.
NHS, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, will provide financial assistance for tuition and room and board, as well as other college-related expenses.
“There are so many students out there with the grades, determination and mental toughness to earn a degree,” said Evelyn Bryant, a founding member and community activist, in the release. “Some of these students are dealing with obstacles in their lives that may be unimaginable to other people. Our goal is to remove one of these barriers, by providing the financial means to get an education and attain a higher quality of life.”
According to the release, a unifying element of the diverse, 11-member team that formed NHS is that they rose above the odds to become successful in their respective fields. Most of the founders are Wilmington natives and/or business owners, the release stated.
“It is wonderful to be in a position where we can give back to the community that we know and love,” said Haywood Newkirk, a founding member, licensed real estate appraiser and real estate broker, in the release. “In a time that has been plagued by so much divisiveness, New Hanover Scholars will set a new paradigm, proving that people of all races and backgrounds can rally together in support of a common goal.”
According to the release, a thorough application process including an interview will determine the recipients of the scholarships.
"An important criterion is that applicants need to be a member of an historically marginalized community," the release stated.
To kick-start the initiative, NHS is awarding partial scholarships of $5,000 to a small number of students.
“One of our goals is to create a ripple effect on the broader community, by supporting the next generation of leaders and business owners in their endeavors to pursue a higher education,” said Reggie Shuford, a founding member and award-winning civil rights lawyer, in the release.
More information about how to get involved or make a donation is available online
NHS' initial board of directors consists of Bryant, Newkirk, Shuford, Tim Milam, Russell Martin Jr., Anthony Martin, Jeffrey Howard, Dave Spetrino, Deborah Dicks Maxwell, Dr. Philip Brown and Kevin Spears.