Monrovia High School Senior Tamika Samuels was getting close to the finish line for a national scholarship, when she was asked a strange question.
“One of the admissions officers asked me if I like Ben and Jerry’s,” said Samuels. “I was thinking to myself, why does he want to know if I like Ben and Jerry’s?”
It was a weird question that might have changed her life. The admissions officer let her know Ben and Jerry's headquarters is in Vermont, which is where Middlebury College is located. The school Samuels will be attending with the help of the Posse Scholarship.
“It was really exciting,” she said. “On the zoom call, they could hear my family cheering for me in the background. They wanted my family to come and join in."
The Posse Scholarship is 4-year tuition scholarship for students traditionally overlooked in the college admissions process.
The Posse Foundation partners with colleges and universities around the United States to help choose the program that most suits a student's goals. Samuels will be going to Middlebury with a team of nine other Posse scholars from around the nation.
Celebrating with Samuels’ family and friends on the zoom call was MHS School Counselor Noel Hernandez, one of many who helped on the journey to this achievement.
“It was absolutely amazing to hear such great news!”, said Hernandez. “This news made my week and I advised Tamika to keep that feeling alive in her heart for as long as possible.”
While her post high school plans are set, Samuels said she’ll look back on her time at MHS with great fondness.
From her time with the Black Student Union, Math and Science Academy, Varsity Tennis team and many other programs, she said they all helped her get to where she is now.
“MHS has helped prepare me for college,” Samuels said. “I want to take the time to thank all the teachers I’ve had throughout high school and my counselor Ms. Hernandez and Ms. Putrika.”
She said it was a demanding process to qualify for a nationally recognized scholarship, but decided to go for gold.
Samuels recognized that other MHS students may be intimidated to apply for scholarships like the Posse Scholarship.
She only has one piece of advice for those that might be holding off on applying.
“I’d say, just go for it,” Samuels said. “You never know what the outcomes would be but you’ll feel at peace knowing that you did your best and prepared for it. So just do what you have to do, be your authentic self and believe in yourself.”
Samuels is excited to join the Middlebury’s Math and Science department and plans to focus her studies in biology. Her goal is to eventually attend medical school and become a pediatrician to help close the healthcare gap for communities in-need.
Way to go, Tamika Samuels!