Life got a little better for some of the state of Florida’s best and brightest students as Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships during its fourth annual President’s Tour:
FAMU Up Close and Personal. During his seven-city tour, Ammons visited The Villages, Leesburg, Winter Haven, St. Petersburg, Naples, Ft. Myers and Miami. “Our corporate partners provide the money for these scholarships awarded because they want FAMU talent,” Ammons said. “Our best scholarship, the Life-Gets-Better Scholarship, is so good that life for the entire family gets better.” For this tour Ammons enlisted the help of university recruiters, administrators, student leaders and members of the FAMU Connection, a group of students who tell the university’s story through a theatrical production.
Every stop of the tour was opened up with a student perspective. Breyon Love, vice president of FAMU’s Student Government Association and SGA’s president elect; Kindall Johnson, Miss FAMU; and Iman Sandifer, student senator and third-year history student gave the perspective on life as a FAMU student throughout the tour. “The President’s Tour is great because it gives us a chance to inform a large number of people in a small amount of time about FAMU and the programs that it has to offer,” Johnson said. After the student perspective, Ammons shared with parents, students, and alumni, some of FAMU’s major accomplishments and why FAMU was traveling the state of Florida. “I take the President’s tour very seriously. We want to convey a positive impression onto our alumni and answer any questions that they might have,” said Executive Director in the Office of Alumni Affairs Carmen Cummings. In Leesburg, Ammons awarded the first Life-Gets-Better Scholarship to Lachonda Lacey, a sophomore at South Sumter High School in Bushnell, Fla. The LGB scholarship pays for tuition and fees, room and board, books, provides a $500 stipend per semester, a PC notebook, an iPad and a guaranteed summer internship. Lacey is in the process of getting a patent for a treatment that would cure staph infections called MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). “My project, the tea tree test, was designed to find a more natural and applicable way to treat staph infections,” Lacey said. Ammons stated that he wanted to be the first to offer Lacey a scholarship. When asked how she felt to be offered a scholarship while being only a sophomore in high school, Lacey said, “It is so amazing that it is indescribable,” while smiling from ear to ear.
In his hometown of Winter Haven, Ammons awarded another LGB Scholarship to Stephon Mikell, a senior at International Baccalaureate Bartow High School. Mikell, who scored a 34 on the ACT and maintains a 4.3 grade point average, was in shock when his name was called as a LGB scholarship recipient.
“When I heard my name, I started to shake,” said Mikell, who plans to major in mathematics. “It is good to know that they [FAMU] cared enough to come. I didn’t consider FAMU but my mindset has changed. I am still shaking.”
Steve Pierre-Lewis, a senior at Blanche Ely High in Miami, Fla. and a recipient of the LGB scholarship, expressed his thoughts about
being awarded the scholarship. “FAMU was not on my list before, but now it is,” said Pierre-Lewis”This is a great incentive. Also, another turning point was hearing the student’s perspective.” Staff writer, Keith Blue contributed to this article.