Students to attend FVSU on Michael Brown scholarships

Michael Brown's name is now synonymous with his death in Ferguson, Missouri.

But for some students who went to his high school it'll now be forever linked to an opportunity to attend Fort Valley State University on full-ride scholarships.

13 WMAZ's Kristen Swilley and videojournalist Hunter Joyce learned a little more about the awards and heard student's reactions to the news.

"Here in Wildcat Country, we treat everybody like a family. Everybody is like a brother or cousin or some distant relative that you've never met," said Elijah Porter II, a student at FVSU.

And that family gets a little bigger this fall. Some of the freshman coming to "The Valley" are from the same Missouri high school Michael Brown graduated from days before he died.

"The situation that has happened in Missouri has been a tragedy that has been felt across America," Porter added.

"We know that they've been through a lot, whether it's affected them indirectly or directly, some may be family members of Michael Brown," said Joshua Brown, a senior at FVSU.

11 graduates of Normandy High are getting full-ride scholarships to three Historically Black Colleges in Universities or HBCUs: Fort Valley State, Miles College in Alabama, or Texas College.

The money comes from the Michael Brown Chosen for Change Foundation, which works closely with Brown's family.

"These students have been under a national spotlight. It's a detrimental time. The Michael Brown story I think will live on forever as a time of key civil rights unrest for the entire nation," said Pamela Berry-Johnson, Director of Marketing and Communications for the university.

It's the high school's connection to Brown, it's proximity to the unrest in Ferguson that has Berry-Johnson saying Peach County may provide a peaceful alternative. The scholarship's requirements are more than academic, geared toward those who may not be able to afford college.

"The students can expect to come here to Fort Valley State University to find some nurturing, some insulation, some introspection, about finding out who they are," she said.

"We're behind them 100 percent. We support them. Coming to Fort Valley might help us get even more involved in the situation, maybe we can help them move on from it," said Latesha Taylor, an out-of-state student who says financial assistance from the scholarships will be a big help for those students.

Come fall, they'll be moving on as the newest members of the Wildcat family.

"We think that it's amazing that something that has detrimented the country has turned into something so positive," Berry-Johnson said.

Berry-Johnson doesn't know how many of the 11 students will attend Fort Valley State or exactly why the school was selected, but says she is looking forward to getting more details in the near future.


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