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Nine seniors given scholarships

Sarah Mervosh | Thursday, January 22, 2009

High school senior Emerald Woodberry was in the middle of learning a song at gospel choir rehearsal when she checked her e-mail on her cell phone and learned that she had won a $200,000 scholarship to Notre Dame.

“I always check my email [during rehearsal],” the Toledo, Ohio, native admitted, who wasn’t thinking about the scholarship at the time because she expected the e-mail to come later that day.

“I just sat there for a little bit and was like, were they serious?”

“I showed one of my best friends and she stopped the whole rehearsal and showed the e-mail to everyone,” she said.

Woodberry is one of nine high school seniors who won a scholarship to Notre Dame through the QuestBridge National College Match program, an organization that focuses on providing “low income, high achieving high school kids” with scholarships, she said.

The nine students from hail from California, Michigan, Texas, Washington, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Ohio.

Woodberry said the application process was like any other college application, asking for basic information and essays. Applicants listed their top schools they wished to attend, and if they were selected, they would be matched with the top school they were accepted into.

Notre Dame was the only school that Woodberry listed because other schools were binding, and because of her experience as one of 50 students who attended the African-American Scholars Program at Notre Dame the summer before her senior year.

“When I was down there this summer, I really fell in love with the whole atmosphere of it, the way everyone is so close knit. The campus is so pretty and I love football,” said Woodberry. “Notre Dame was the only one that I knew for sure. That was my number one school.”

Atlanta, Ga., high school senior Cedric Strickland, who also received a full-ride to Notre Dame from QuestBridge, said that he is excited to go to school that not only excels academically, but also athletically.

Strickland has never been to a high school or college football game.

“Right now I still have the view like in the movies everyone’s in the bleachers cheering on their team,” he said.

The scholarship is especially valuable because QuestBridge focuses on low-income students.

“I couldn’t actually afford to go to [college without the scholarship],” Strickland said.

Woodberry wanted to wait to tell her mom of the scholarship as a Christmas present, but was only able to last a week before telling her.

“She started crying, like ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it.’ She couldn’t even talk,” Woodberry said of her mother’s reaction.

Woodberry said that her major is still undecided, while Strickland would like to pursue a degree in Business.