Crowley ISD Connections Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 14

College is Covered Two excepional graduates were offered more than $1 million in scholarships each Written by Megan Middleton Recent Crowley ISD graduates Corey Ellis and Jasmine Paz are leaving high school with more than just diplomas. The two are headed to college with full four-year scholarships — and the skills they need to succeed on the road ahead. Ellis, a North Crowley grad, is bound for Southern Methodist University, and Paz, a Crowley grad, will attend Texas Christian University. In addition to hard work and determination, another common denominator in their success was AVID. The college and career readiness program stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. Ellis and Paz participated in AVID since middle school. “We, as a Crowley ISD family, are so proud of Jasmine Paz and Corey Ellis because they exemplify what AVID is all about,” Angie Wilkinson, AVID district director, said. “They took advantage of all the opportunities in advanced academics as well as staying in AVID and using those AVID strategies.” Both were accepted to more than a dozen schools and offered more than $1 million in scholarships each. “They are symbolic of so many of our other AVID students who are accepted into college, receive large scholarships and are going to go on and become college graduates and make us all so proud,” Wilkinson said. SMU PRESIDENT’S SCHOLAR Ellis plans to attend SMU’s Lyle Engineering School and major in computer science and mathematics. “I’m excited mostly about the internships and the opportunities that are on campus,” he said. “With the engineering school, every major works with some 14 CROWLEY ISD CONNECTIONS | Summer 2018 company. There are always so many opportunities to actually get yourself ahead in the industry. That’s the main reason I wanted to go to SMU.” It also allows him to stay close to home and family. Ellis earned the President’s Scholarship at SMU. President’s Scholarships are awarded to 20-25 students who have shown exemplary academic skills, according to SMU. It is SMU’s most prestigious merit-based scholarship. The award is for full tuition and fees plus study abroad. Students who live on campus also receive a scholarship for room and board. “It was a big shock to even be mentioned for it,” Ellis said of the scholarship. “Not having to pay anything for it is a real blessing, especially because it’s the one school I really wanted to go to,” he said. Ellis’ mom, Jana, said her son fell in love with SMU in the ninth grade, but he also was adamant that he did not want to cause his parents a financial hardship. “When we got the notice that he got (the President’s Scholarship), it was a dream come true,” Jana Ellis said. “We were like, ‘This is nothing but God.’ We were just really happy and very proud.” Ellis challenged himself throughout high school with tough coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes. He even quit football his junior year to focus more on academics. “Since ninth grade, whatever is the hardest class at the school, I’m in it,” he said. “I never thought, ‘I want to take it easy.’ I wanted to work hard in each of my classes. I wanted to know that whatever I did, I always put my best foot forward.”