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LELAND – Four young women have broken new ground for North Brunswick High School graduates, becoming the first students from the Leland school to attend their chosen colleges.
And each of them earned a full scholarship to get there.
Two NBHS students will attend Wake Forest University.
Salutatorian Kiya Khalil received the Kenneth Tucker Monroe Wake Forest Scholarship and Lindsay Gilliland received the Davis Scholar Wake Forest Scholarship.
Brittany Crocker will attend High Point University and Jensen Wallace will attend Wingate University as Presidential Scholars at their respective schools.
“I wanted to go to Wake Forest but it is quite expensive so I decided to pursue a scholarship. “It’s my dream school; but it’s an expensive school,” Gilliland, who intends to study History and Anthropology, said.
Wallace said she did not know much about Wingate until she received an email from the school. So she applied.
Wingate is in Monroe, not far from Charlotte
“We visited the school and I fell in love. You feel like you’re at home when you find the right campus,” Wallace said.
Wallace intends to study Political Science.
On the tour, Wallace said the small classroom size impressed her as she can build a connection with her teachers and classmates.
“You can make connections. You’ll know your classmates even as the years go on,” she said.
Crocker said she had not heard of High Point until she applied.
It was on a visit to learn about scholarships that she fell in love with the campus.
“I love the place, (and) they are giving me money to go there,” Crocker said.
She said the school president won her over not just with a welcome speech but also by sticking around to meet the prospective students.
“He ate lunch with us and had students and professors (participate in the interviews) with us,” Crocker said.
“It was not like an interrogation. The atmosphere and the people are great.”
Crocker intends to study Criminal Justice, Political Science and Anthropology.
Khalil said Wake Forest was always her number one choice.
“I plan to double major in Spanish and Biology to become a doctor,” Khalil said.
“Wake Forest has a strong medical school. They have a great pre-med program for kids coming in.”
If she maintains a 3.5 grade point average through her junior year, Khalil can automatically enter the medical program.
The four students are the school’s first to receive scholarships to attend private universities.
“We’re all originals,” Crocker said.
Ann Mayberry, North Brunswick school counselor, said many students go to Cape Fear Community College, UNCW or one of the state schools.
But few have pursued attending the private in state schools until this year.
“We encourage them to go and apply. They are looking for quality students,” Mayberry said.
Mayberry said each of the students to receive scholarships has straight A's and took AP classes or college courses through the Brunswick Community College dual enrollment program.
They were each involved in school activities as well as community activities, Mayberry said.
The four students will leave for college in late August and while they know what they plan to study, they are all looking forward to the interests and activities of on-campus life as freshmen.
Wallace said she is interested in Greek life, after learning about it from her mother, who was involved while she was a student.
“I enjoyed going to functions with her, so I’m interested,” Wallace said.
“I also want to take part in intramurals, the campus ministry and since I’ll be studying political science I want to participate with campaigns,” Wallace said.
“I hope to get involved to see what (campaigns) are like on the other side as opposed to being a voter.”
Khalil said she is also interested in Greek life at Wake Forest.
“It will be interesting to see and get involved in those activities. And I want to start a clogging team,” she said.
Crocker said as a criminal justice major she will be able to participate in the school’s criminal investigation building.
“You work on cases,” she said.
And there will be a lot of volunteer opportunities she is looking forward to.
“We can go out and help make (the community around the school) better,” she said.
Gilliland said she will be the first in her family to go to college. So she is looking forward to joining the First in the Forest program at Wake Forest to get involved with volunteering on the campus and in the community.
Each student took away something they learned at NBHS that helped them achieve the scholarships and will help them continue to succeed.
“I learned you have to buckle down and do the work to get what you want,” Gilliland said.
“Your personal drive and want to stand out excites success. What I learned here I’ll continue at Wake Forest,” Khalil said.
“My parents told me you do not have to do what the crowd does. Do what you want,” Wallace said.
“You can pave your own way.”
Crocker said she had to have a lot of self discipline.
“A lot of students decided where to go to college by going where their friends are going. I decided where to go based on what I want to do,” Crocker said.
Wallace said her mother was her family’s first college student, attending UNCW for teaching. And she has supported her daughter in getting away from the comfort of home to see different places and experience new things.
“I will not forget where I came from, but you want to carve your own path,” Wallace said.
Crocker said her mom is happy for her, but would be OK with it if she wanted to stay at home, but said her family agreed with Wallace’s outlook.
“My parents know it’s not good to stay in one place. That you need to get out (of familiar settings)," she said.
Khalil said her family is very supportive of her getting out of Leland to go follow her dream to be the first doctor in the family.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.