Four seniors named Posse Scholars


Atlanta Public Schools

Four of the six students to earn the posse scholarship from Atlanta Public Schools came from Grady. (Top left) Avery Alford, (top right) Taylor Jackson, (bottom left) Shamayan Sullivan, and (bottom center) Keziah Corbett received full, merit-based scholarships to each of their respective schools.

Bria Brown, Photographer/Multimedia

Every year, Grady sends students off to top-tier colleges such as George Washington University and Boston University through the Posse Scholarship program.

This year, six seniors were named Posse scholars within the Atlanta Public Schools system. Of the six, four are from Grady. These students are Keziah Corbett attending Brandeis University, Shamayan Sullivan attending Boston University, Avery Alford attending George Washington University and Taylor Jackson attending the College of Wooster in the fall of 2019.

The Posse Scholarship Foundation, founded in 1989, works to create small, multicultural groups of talented students who can serve as catalysts for individual and community development at their colleges, according to the Posse Foundation’s website. The foundation provides full, merit-based scholarships to Posse recipients.

“I was debating going to college at all, and without Posse, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college,” Sullivan said.

As accepted scholars, the students will have four meetings per year with Posse mentors and weekly meetings with campus liaisons and mentors to ensure their success at respective schools.

In order to be selected, each applicant must progress through four stages: a nomination process, first group interview, semifinal interview and final interview. The opening interview consisted of 100 students organized into mini “posses,” or groups of 10 students, lasting about four to five hours.

Alford remembers her experience. The semifinal round was a private interview at the Posse Atlanta headquarters.

“This interview was about 30 minutes long,” Alford said. “The interviewers just asked personal questions. They also asked to bring in an item that describes us or shows what we are passionate about.”

Last in the process came the finalist interview in which Posse evaluators narrowed 25 accomplished students to 10. In the interview, the 25 finalists were interviewed about politics and social issues.

“The interview consisted of three components: mini interviews/conversation groups, a group project, a presentation and a human scavenger hunt,” Corbett said.

Most of the recipients expressed mixed emotions, concern and gratitude once they stepped out of the final interview. Jackson came out excited, but also nervous.

“Throughout the whole process, you become more unsure of what exactly makes you special, because you’re around so many other talented and amazing people your age,” Jackson said.

Several hours after the final interview, the candidates were notified of their acceptance to their respective schools, which left Corbett flooded with sweeping emotions.

“I was so shocked but very excited for the future,” Corbett said.

Attracted to George Washington University for a variety of reasons, Alford is excited for the upcoming school year. 

“I chose GW because it was already one of the top schools that I was interested in,” Alford said. “It is located in Washington, D.C. and has one of the best international business programs in the country, which is what I was interested in studying.”

Corbett plans to major in biochemistry with a minor in health science society and policy (HSSP) at Brandeis.

“Brandeis University was my first choice because I loved the liberal arts education that it offered while also being a large research university, as well as the university’s dedication to social equality,” Corbett said.

Jackson plans to study philosophy at the College of Wooster.

“It was an amazing sense of relief to find out I had moved on to the next phase and later actually got the scholarship,” Jackson said. “Nothing is more nerve-wracking than waking up an hour after you got a call from the Posse office hours after your finalist interview, wondering if that was the call.”

Sullivan will attend Boston University in the fall and major in visual arts and minor in African studies.

“I looked at the best art departments, since I am an artist,” Sullivan said. “I also looked at the city and how big the campus is. That’s how I ended up at Boston University.”

Alford, along with the other Grady Posse scholars, expressed an immense amount of gratitude for her family, friends, teachers and everyone along the way who has helped them get to where they are now.

“It feels amazing to be a Posse scholar,” Alford said. “I am very excited for all of the opportunities that are ahead of me due to the Posse foundation, and I am overall very grateful.”

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