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Three Seniors Receive Full-Ride Scholarships to Central State University

April 29, 2021 -- For the first time in the history of Columbus City Schools, the District has formed a partnership with Central State University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in Wilberforce, Ohio, which has resulted in three full-ride scholarships. 

Seniors Anutee Tyler (Columbus Africentric Early College) and Denzel McCoy (Walnut Ridge) received the most prestigious scholarship from Central State -- the Presidential Scholarship, covering tuition, fees, room, and board all four years. Senior Kapri Dawkins (Independence/Columbus Downtown High School) is the proud recipient of the University’s Trustee Scholarship, which covers tuition and fees for all four years. Community partners stepped up to cover Dawkins's room and board due to the momentum of the partnership.

“This scholarship means so much to my family and me,” said Anutee Tyler. “Before I found out about the scholarship, I was very stressed trying to figure out how to pay for college.” 

Tyler wants to get a degree in psychology. She will be the first one in her family to go to college. 

“The fact that I’m going to an HBCU means even more. I will be at a school with people that look and sound like me.”

At the District’s Central Education Center, the scholarship recipients, two family members, along with top leaders from Central State University and Columbus City Schools, gathered for a brief, socially distanced celebration. 

Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon says she understands the benefits of attending an HBCU and shared how her undergraduate years at Mississippi Valley State University, also an HBCU, helped her to become the leader of the largest school district in Ohio.

“My HBCU experience at Mississippi Valley State University helped me stay focused,” said Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent/CEO Columbus City Schools Superintendent. “This partnership with Central State University will continue that circle of support for our students. They will be part of a nurturing community with students just like them and college professors that look just like them. That is so important for our students as they continue on their educational pathway.” 

At today’s gathering, sitting six feet behind her daughter was Anutee’s mom. Wearing her United States Postal Service mail carrier uniform and a mask, Carlotta Lowe slipped away from work briefly because she couldn’t miss this important celebration with her daughter. 

“I’m so proud and appreciative of this scholarship,” said Carlotta Lowe. “She’s always gone above and beyond. She competes with herself to always do better.” 

The president of Central State University Dr. Jack Thomas talked about his humble beginnings on an Alabama farm nestled between Selma and Montgomery. It was Thomas’ mother who told him the way to get off the farm was to go to college. 

“My mom told me to do something different,” said Dr. Thomas. “It was good advice, and that’s what I’m telling you today. You can do whatever you set your mind to do. This is just the beginning.” 

Denzel McCoy plans to pursue a career in computer science. With a GPA over 4.0, he jokingly said maintaining a 3.5 GPA to keep his scholarship at Central State won’t be a problem. 

“I’m just thrilled to be attending an HBCU to pursue my college degree,” said McCoy. “My love of computers started in middle school here at CCS. I took one computer class and was hooked.” 

Senior Kapri Dawkins, who will graduate from Independence High School in June, is a track and field star student-athlete currently studying criminal justice at Columbus Downtown High School. 

“I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps and pursue a career in criminal justice,” said Dawkins, who hopes someday to become a police officer. “I’m so glad Central State picked me for this scholarship.” 

The Superintendent and the District’s Chief Engagement Officer have often remarked that CCS students can’t be what they can’t see. Today, Central State University and Columbus City Schools showed everyone the mirror. 

“This is a monumental day in the history of Columbus City Schools,” said Alesia Gillison, Chief Engagement Officer, Columbus City Schools. “There are only two Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Ohio, and we have a partnership with one of them. That creates a direct pipeline for our scholars to succeed now and in the future.”