Graduating senior Maleena Frazier was recently honored with the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship and will receive a full ride to Spelman College in Atlanta.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Each year, 1,000 honorees are chosen out of 54,000 applications. Frazier is one of 14 winners from Mississippi.
"I'm definitely excited and it's a big honor to win the Gates Millennium Scholarship," said Frazier. "I'm really looking forward to the college experience — meeting new classmates, taking classes, going to events and the college environment.
"I feel like I will find a lot more people there who share my interests."
The aspiring double major in political science and international studies said the scholarship comes as a major financial relief to her family, especially considering her twin sister Katana will also be attending Spelman in the fall.
Frazier said she waited until the last minute to complete the application and never would have applied without the encouragement that came from Katana.
"It took a lot of hard work and it was a really good feeling when I got it all turned in."
She said the application process required multiple essays, a background in community service and a quality grade point average.
"I encourage anyone who wants to apply to do it," said Frazier. "They are really focused on community service and an essay that tells a great story — but not a sob story."
Frazier aspires to be a lawyer or F.B.I. agent.
Fellow Broad Street student Kierra Gallion, finishing her sophomore year, also received high praise with her own scholarship announcement.
Beginning next fall, Gallion will attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus — the only public, residential high school specifically tailored to meet the needs of the Magnolia State's most academically gifted high school juniors and seniors.
"I'm excited but nervous at the same time," said Gallion. "I've spent my whole life in Shelby."
She added that she's ready for a new learning environment filled with a more diverse student body.
Gallion's favorite subjects are mathematics and English and she hopes to attend Georgia Tech University to study civil engineering.
"I'm looking forward to taking classes that will help me get ready for college life and for my future career," she said.
North Bolivar Superintendent Jesse King said he was extremely proud of the girls' accomplishments and that both are deserving recipients.
"Some of the most precious gems come from small places," said King. "Even though our students are from a small town, they are always looking for big opportunities."
Anthony Pitts, vice president of the NBSD school board, also praised their success.
"We're very proud of our schoolchildren," said Pitts. "Despite all the obstacles they face, products of this nature can come from small school districts."
It has been two years since Broad Street sent a student to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.