HIGH POINT, N.C., May 2, 2017 – Just as athletes are honored during signing days for their achievements and commitment to play at a university level, High Point University honored five Triad high school students with full-tuition scholarships for committing to continue their academic careers.
HPU awards five Say Yes Scholarships annually, three of which are presented to Guilford County Schools graduating seniors, and two of which are presented to first generation college students from the city of High Point. This year’s recipients are:
Janae Dillman of Southwest Guilford High School (First Generation Scholar); Cesar Toledo-Aguirre of Penn-Griffin School of the Arts (First Generation Scholar); Radu Grecu of Grimsley High School; Ashley Benegas of Western Guilford High School; and Alyssa Dumont of Northwest Guilford High School.
High Point City Council members, Guilford County School Board members and other dignitaries filled the event today to celebrate the achievements of these soon-to-be high school graduates and freshmen at HPU.
“The five young people we honor today will receive a scholarship fully funded by High Point University,” says Joe Cristy, director of undergraduate recruitment at HPU. “If that’s not a commitment to students right here in our area, I’m not certain what is. There are top student athletes these days that have signing events and press conferences. We wanted to honor these scholars for committing to their new home and also show appreciation for so many of our community education advocates today.”
Carlvena Foster, Guilford County Commissioner, former Guilford County Schools board member and a leader on the HPU scholarship committee, said the scholarships show HPU’s commitment to its community.
“Money is often seen as the greatest barrier to attending college, but thanks to High Point University, their generosity and their commitment to educating young people, all five of these scholarships alleviate that barrier by providing full rides to this university,” Foster said. “Today is yours to celebrate. This signing event gives you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve success at one of the most prestigious universities in America.”
“I feel very honored to receive this once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Dillman, a First Generation Scholar from Southwest Guilford High School who will study biology and apply to HPU’s physician assistant graduate program. “I’m looking forward to continuing to give back to my community and get the extraordinary education HPU offers.”
In addition to joining a university focused on academic and professional excellence, the Say Yes Scholarship recipients are also enrolled in HPU’s Bonner Leader program. The national program funds students to serve as volunteer coordinators at local nonprofit organizations. In these roles, students are able to strengthen their community while also gaining valuable skills.
“Our Bonners work with six community nonprofits,” says Dr. Joe Blosser, Robert G. Culp director of service learning. “They work 300 hours per year. This program is designed to find a cohort of people who are committed to being scholars and citizens. We seek to build up that idea of citizenship so that as they’re receiving scholarships they’re able to give back to the community and university that helped them get here.”
About the recipients:
Dillman is a First Generation and Say Yes Scholar who grew up in the city of High Point. She attends Southwest Guilford High School, where she ran cross country and outdoor track. Dillman is involved with Habitat for Humanity, serves as a Miracle League Volunteer in High Point and volunteers at Greensboro Urban Ministries.
Toledo-Aguirre, a First Generation and Say Yes Scholar, attends Penn-Griffin School of the Arts in High Point, where he practiced his talent of playing the guitar. Toledo-Aguirre serves as secretary of the High Point Youth Council and is vice president of Key Club at Penn-Griffon. He is also a member of The National BETA Club and the FCCLA.
Dumont is a Say Yes Scholar from Northwest Guilford High School. She is a competitive dancer and member of the National Honor Society. Dumont is also a clothing model and hopes to attend medical school to become a physician.
Grecu is a Say Yes scholar who attends Grimsley High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society. Grecu has served as a High Point City park attendant and he aspires to become a lawyer.
Benegas, a Say Yes Scholar, attends Western Guilford High School where she is a member of the National Honor Society, a Relay for Life captain and serves as co-president of the school’s MED Club, an organization that brings in speakers from the medical field and provides volunteer opportunities for students. Banegas is also a teen volunteer for Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro and serves as the president of her church youth group. She aspires to attend medical school and become a physician.