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Three William Blount Students Win Scholarships

posted Oct 3, 2016, 5:49 AM by Chris Whitehorne   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 1:29 PM ]
What's the difference between a wish and a goal? Three William Blount High School seniors know the answer. Kaylin Bailey, Collin Bentley and Foster Harris were recently named 2014 National College Match Scholarship recipients. In total, only 501 high school seniors in the nation were recipients.

Recipients represent about 4 percent of total applicants. Out of 11,654 applicants, 4,180 students were selected in October as finalists, based on their academic, financial and extracurricular credentials.

Since 2003, the QuestBridge College Match Program has successfully linked more than 3,000 high-achieving, low-income students with admission and full scholarships to partner institutions, including Amherst College, Brown University and Northwestern University. Students selected for the College Match are admitted with a guaranteed full, four-year scholarship — including tuition, room and board, and other expenses — provided by the college. Bailey will attend University of Pennsylvania and study psychology and early childhood development. Bentley will attend Yale University and study nanoscience and quantum engineering. Harris will attend Haverford College and study biology and pre-medicine.

'Worked incredibly hard'

During an afternoon assembly Friday, Principal Rob Clark informed the study body about the trio's accomplishments. He said the group exemplifies the Governor Way: "Give your best effort in all you do. Be better today than you were yesterday. Respect and help others." Bailey, Bentley and Harris show that anything is possible with hard work and high expectations, Clark said. "Do you know the difference between a wish and a goal? A wish is something you hope for: 'I hope I win the lottery.' A goal is something you strive to achieve and work over a period of time to do. They've made constant decisions and constant sacrifices to realize and achieve their goals."

Family members agreed with Clark.

"Collin worked incredibly hard to get here," said Melissa Bentley, Collin Bentley's mother. "He's done nothing but work for this moment since the eighth grade. He never lost sight of it." "Nobody realizes how hard they've worked to get here," said Debra Bailey, Kaylin Bailey's grandmother. "They've worked so incredibly hard to have this opportunity. Kaylin has worked for this day since the sixth grade." "Foster's success is a testimony to his hard work," said Dan Harris, Foster Harris' father. "It's also a testimony to Blount County Schools and William Blount High School. Both were major factors in his success. Foster received a lot of support in our district, because we have a lot of teachers who are invested in our children."

Redefine expectations

"We're told everyday in this community that the county schools aren't as good as the city schools and the private schools," said Collin Bentley. "However, we can accomplish the same things as those students and even more." "We had something like a 3 percent chance that one of us would match," said Foster Harris. "Three students from the same school, the same classroom, AP (Advanced Placement) English IV, just did. It's validated all the work we've done, proving we did the right thing." "We've redefined what we're able to do," Collin Bentley said. "Premier colleges seem like a fantasy to people like us," said Kaylin Bailey. "When you see someone walking the halls in their college sweatshirt, it becomes a real, reachable goal. It's not Narnia like you thought."

Bailey, Bentley and Harris are ready now for the next chapter in their lives."We're getting to go to our own playgrounds," Collin Bentley said. "All of us are going to get the world's best educational opportunities that will prepare us for graduate programs."

Mathew Stewart - The Daily Times

Story on WATE