Earlier this year Vector Wealth Strategies selected four high school seniors as winners of its annual scholarship. The annual scholarship dinner is traditionally held in May but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the graduates had a nontraditional spring semester and graduation ceremonies, students have since settled in their dormitories and started classes. Vector Wealth Strategies is proud to share the stories of this year’s scholarship winners. Join us as we wish them well as they begin their first year of college.
Marian Emery is studying English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. A graduate of Mae C. Jemison High School/Jemison College Academy, Emery plans to become a teacher or a lawyer.
“Without this scholarship, I have little to no financial security for my college education,” Emery said. “I’m looking forward to being with like-minded, academic individuals and having the independence that comes with the college experience.”
While in high school, Emery served as vice president of the National Honor Society, captain of the varsity soccer team and participated in PEARLS, an organization that emphasizes positive life skills, mentorship, support and community service projects.
“PEARLS was girls-only and it was such a positive experience for me,” Emery said. “Being involved with the organization helped me make connections in the community, and I enjoyed being around like-minded young women.”
Emery is a member of the CAP & GOWN Project, a non-profit organization that provides Huntsville students with opportunities to tour colleges, improve their ACT scores and engage in STEM education. She increased her ACT score from a 23 to 29 while involved with Cap & Gown. “Improving my score helped me secure merit-based scholarships, and Cap & Gown helped me work on my personal statement,” Emery said.
Isaiah Caldwell is studying marketing management and communications at the University of Montevallo. A graduate of Grissom High School and the Cap & Gown Project, Isaiah has spent the summer working and saving money to prepare for campus life.
“I’m so thankful for this scholarship. College can be very expensive and this scholarship helps by minimizing what’s coming out of pocket or going to have to be paid back,” Caldwell said. “I’ve been ordering my school supplies online and I’m hoping the campus will be open for students in August.”
Caldwell has already been accepted as a member of MADE (Minorities Achieving Dreams of Excellence), an on-campus program that provides support for first-year college students. While in Cap & Gown, Caldwell focused on improving his ACT score and visiting colleges. “I was so blessed to have Cap & Gown because I went from a 14 to a 24 on the ACT. They prepared me for the test.”
He is looking forward to his first year in college.
“I want to gain experiences and friendships,” Caldwell said. “I know it will be the year that I settle in and progress in my independence and (other) skills.”
A graduate of Buckhorn High School, Montana Edwards is attending the University of Delaware to study chemistry and forensic science.
“I have been accepted to the Honors College, which is more writing based, challenging, and has smaller class sizes,” Edwards said. “When I complete all of the requirements at graduation it will be with honors. This would not be possible without the support of the Vector Wealth Strategies scholarship. I am excited about the forensic science courses I will be taking and having a chance to be hands-on in a professional chemistry lab.”
Edwards’ decision to attend school out of state was a financially difficult choice to make. “This scholarship will allow me to be in one of the top 10 chemistry departments in the nation,” she said.
Keeping a busy schedule during her years in high school developed Edwards’ keen time management skills. “Planning out my day helped me learn how to organize my time working sometimes three jobs a night — after school care, tutoring and babysitting — on top of a full school day was hard,” Edwards said.
With Covid-19 changing the second half of her senior year, Edwards learned to appreciate every moment. “It really showed me how important every memory is and to not take simple daily privileges for granted,” she said. “I will push myself to get out there with those I love.”
Contemporary Education Academy homeschooler Naomi McDonald is majoring in business administration at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
“I’m looking forward to advancing my entrepreneurial skills, moving forward with purpose and being immersed in a community of people who have similar academic goals,” McDonald said. “Winning the Vector Wealth Strategies scholarship has changed the course of my trajectory and through the process of applying, I learned to better exemplify my skills, communicate effectively and reach my goals.”
A competitive swimmer, a member of a debate club and a counselor for a special needs summer camp, McDonald is looking forward to the academic challenges ahead. “I’m excited to be pushed by other ambitious people to achieve excellence,” McDonald said. “To me, college is a place to find a community and group of people that creates a positive atmosphere for me to pursue my academic and career goals.”