Justin Easley, a graduate of the Magnet School at Rockdale County High School and Rockdale County native, will be attending MIT in the fall. The 17-year-old was a leader in the RCHS band and was also on the math team and his areas of interest include anything to do with math, science of music.
"I was extremely excited when I found out that I would be receiving this scholarship," said Easley, particularly because it enabled him to pay off his first semester's tuition at MIT. Easley recalls the moment he found out he was accepted to MIT. "I got an e-mail immediately after a band concert and ran outside of the school building yelling ‘I got into MIT!' That was one of the best days of my life."
Anraya Gyne Palmer, a graduate of Heritage High School, is headed to the University of Georgia this fall. She plans to major in exercise sports with the intention of becoming an athletic trainer.
The scholarship came as a surprise, she said. "I had applied for numerous scholarships with no luck, so this was a blessing," she said. "After I learned that it was for the African American student with the highest GPA in the senior class, I felt really proud of myself. All my hard work in those advanced and AP classes had paid off."
The Willie Henderson Sr. Memorial Academic Scholarship Fund was established in 1991 as a tribute to Henderson's life, love of his family, concern for education and children of the community. Henderson respected for his leadership and wisdom as a Rockdale County resident and a deacon at Macedonia Baptist Church in Conyers.
Scholarships are presented annually to qualifying graduating students entering college.
On Sunday, June 28, the scholarship will hold its 17th Annual Gospelfest at 4 p.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church, 1052 Barton Street in Conyers. Everyone is invited to attend. This scholarship is given to the top African-American academic students at Rockdale and Heritage high schools each year. For more information, contact Sister Sandra White at 404-244-0580.
Other scholarship winners
Caleb Kirksey, a recent graduate of Heritage High School, received the Robinson C. Byrd Scholarship. Each school selects a nominee and then the state chooses a winner from each Congressional District for the $1,500 renewable scholarship.
Kirksey is attending Georgia Tech in the fall with a declared major of Computer Science.