Detroit — The newest Ford Blue Oval Scholars did not have to incorporate mental imagery in the latest part of their journey to post-high school study goals. They saw tangible evidence of success.
Whether walking across the stage in the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and receiving awards, ranging from $250 to $1,000, or sharing stories with their fellow students, educational goals were solidifying. Then, 2012 FBOS recipient from Finney High School, Jacob Durrah spoke to the scholars and their families.
Durrah’s internships helped him visualize a wider scope to use his University of Michigan computer engineering degree when he joins Ford Motor Company in July as part of the Ford College Graduate Program in Product Development.
Darrel Latham, who is the first in his family to attend college, spoke with Durrah after the keynote address.
“You guys are like an actual family. I know I have someone to come back and talk to if I ever have a hard time when I’m in college; and it made me feel like a sense of security, like everything is going to be alright,” said the Central State University student who will study pre-pharmacy. “I see that if he can do it, and all these other kids that are here can go to college, then I can go and succeed as well.”
This year’s more than 140 scholarship recipients came from nine additional high schools: Central Collegiate Academy, Cody, Osborn, Southeastern and Western – all in Detroit; and Harper Woods High School, Mt. Clemens High School, Pontiac High School and Ypsilanti Community High School.
“Ford is committed to helping students reach their full potential and realize their dreams” said Pamela Alexander, director of community development for Ford Motor Company Fund. “Not only does the Blue Oval Scholarship program promote education, it also builds confidence in students who are poised to be tomorrow’s leaders, thinkers, and problem solvers.”
Blue Oval Scholarships encourage students to show improvement in academic achievement and their overall school performance and pursue their post-high school educational goals.
The new high school graduates also saw perseverance rewarded when James Williams, '15 FBOS, was surprised with a $5,000 scholarship.
“A couple of days ago I was just filling out scholarships online,” said last year’s Against All Odds scholarship winner, whose award provided housing and food while attending Eastern Michigan University.
Now a junior, who made the Dean’s List, he explained the scholarship options are fewer for upperclassmen.
“Everybody wants to help people once they first get in, but after they first get in it’s like, ‘Alright you should have figured it out.’ But some people haven’t figured it out and some people don’t have the funding to continue.
“Now it’s probably going to be another semester when I don’t have to take out a loan and I’m very thankful for that. It’s like keeping my debt very, very low,” his voice got softer. “Words cannot even really explain. It’s phenomenal. Just trying to keep myself together 'cause I was in front of a lot of people.”
More than $1 million in scholarships have been awarded to more than 1,000 students since the inception of the FBOS program.