T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, hosted thousands of students on Saturday, February 20, 2016, where students were awarded scholarships to the tune of $2.1 million, the biggest ever by Alfred Street Baptist Church. The scholarships are channeled to the students through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The beneficiaries of the event, 14th Annual HBCU College Festival, are high school students joining college.
The doors opened at 10 a.m., although students and their family members started showing up as early as 7 a.m. A big number of those who graced the event came from Washington D.C., while others came from as far as Alabama, New York, Illinois, Florida, among several other places.
A lot of things went down at the festival, with $41,000 given in waiver for applications and up to 1,000 students getting admitted to different colleges on-site. More than 160 students received scholarships based on merit.
The scholarships saw some students get full rides to different HBCUs. This is just one of the ways through which Alfred Street Baptist Church employs to positively impact the lives of young people, and it’s such a timely event as it comes during the Black History Month.
“Black youth are often stereotyped as uneducated, with no ambition or drive, but events like these dispute the perpetual stereotype of black youth time and time again, as nearly 5,000 youth registered online to attend our college festival,” said Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church. “Many black youth and their families woke up this past Saturday morning dreaming of a college education and wondering how it would be possible. By noon, of that day, many saw the dreams come to fruition and had answers. God is good and He showed up, and showed out on Saturday.”
The event registered the largest turnout in its history, bringing together more than 3,000 students and members of their family as well as 320 volunteers.
Ryan Atkins, director of Alfred Street’s HBCU Committee, who was also one of the organizers, said: “If you total up all the scholarships, the funds awarded exceeded over two million dollars and Saturday wrapped up with over 60 HBCUs from across the country coming on site and 42 of those granted students acceptance and money to pay for their higher education on the spot.”
President of Alfred Street’s HBCU Committee on his part said: “Many students can breathe a little easier now, we here at Alfred Street Baptist Church know that the cost of education rises every year, and that’s not even factoring in room and board, transportation, extracurricular activities — college costs can be huge. Therefore we are so blessed to host this event year after year which provides huge relief to these families.”