Angie Copeland, Director of Admissions at University of Texas at Tyler, made a surprise announcement at Whitehouse High School on Friday, Feb. 2. Accompanied by cheerleaders and staff, Copeland awarded four students with full-ride scholarships.
The students receiving the honor were Alex Baham, daughter of Kim and Kerry Baham; Nicolas Means, son of Stuart and Kathy Means; Seth Roberts, son of Jeff and Shelly Roberts and Favour Thomas, daughter of Frances and Victor Thomas.
“We are here today to celebrate our first ever Presidential Fellows,” Copeland stated. “These are your high achieving academic students and they have been awarded a full-ride scholarship to UT-Tyler. They will graduate debt-free. The scholarship will pay for full tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board.”
The news was likely welcome news to the parents who were able to surprise their children by their presence at the announcement.
“It’s a great honor and I didn’t expect it,” Baham said of the scholarship award. “I’m just very honored and grateful.”
“I’m thankful and glad my hard work paid off,” Means stated. “It will help out.”
“It’s incredible,” Roberts commented. “I’m just taken away by how generous they are in giving it to me.”
“It’s a really good opportunity for me to be able to go to college at no cost and it’s going to be less of a burden on my parents,” Thomas declared. “It’s just really been amazing and thinking about it, I just wouldn’t have thought I would go to college on a full-ride scholarship.”
Three of the four scholarship recipients plan to study some form of engineering. Means and Thomas are both interested in electrical engineering, while Baham prefers mechanical engineering and mathematics.
Roberts intends to study nursing. He reported that he has already been assigned a room on campus and is looking forward to graduation and moving on to college.
Shelly Beaumont, who teaches pre-AP geometry, knows each of the four students who were awarded the Presidential Fellow scholarships. She has either taught them in class or knew them through key club which she sponsors.
“It’s a wonderful achievement and a great opportunity for them to get their futures started off on the right foot and not have to borrow money,” Beaumont stated. “They are all great kids. They’re involved in other things on our campus. They’re not just about the academics. They are well-rounded.”
When asked if she thought the students capable of great success at the college level, Beaumont responded, “without a doubt.”