“My parents and family have pushed me to get to where I am today. I rely most heavily on my faith in God to keep me on the right track. The Foundation has given me the resources needed to put all of this motivation to good use.”
College Scholarship Recipient
Highlights of Young Scholar Experience: The path to becoming a Young Scholar is different for each of the 50+ members of the Class of 2012. Raven DeRamus, the only Alabama native in the group, hadn’t ever heard of the program or the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation until a friend of her mother’s told her the Young Scholar program “would change Raven’s life” if she was accepted. As Raven likes to point out, “she was absolutely right.” With Gadsden, Alabama as the starting point four years ago in her Young Scholar journey, Raven has traveled to cities across the U.S. to participate in learning workshops, and even attended a medical program at St. George’s University in Grenada. One highlight for Raven? No, many. “I can attribute most of my greatest experiences to the Foundation,” said a grateful Raven. “I have been able to travel the world, pursue dance, and find my niche with the Foundation’s support.”
Profile: Her Young Scholar status presented Raven with some wonderful opportunities. An honor student at the public high school in her relatively small hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, Raven distinguished herself in the classroom, through extracurricular activities as well as in the community through service projects. She loves dance and was the captain of the Gadsden City High Titan Dance Line, an award-winning ensemble. A natural leader, she was also elected the President of Student Government. But service and social justice issues are just as important to Raven. After returning to Alabama from her first Civic Week program in New York City she became more motivated to serve the community “and to inspire the people around me with my various endeavors.”
Inspiration: Raven’s 7th grade teacher, Leslie Calloway, “changed my life. She is the epitome of passion and dedication, and she is one of my greatest role models.” Raven recalled that Ms. Calloway pushed her students to grasp concepts of mathematics “even when we were too lazy to believe in ourselves.” She is even more inspiring, Raven said, because Ms. Calloway is the first African-American in Gadsden to attend graduate school at Harvard University.
Aspiration: Medical school will hopefully be in Raven’s future as she currently plans to become a Child Psychiatrist.
Making a Difference: Raven’s volunteer activities can fill a page and include everything from tutoring youth, to working with the Special Olympics, to helping the Salvation Army as a bell ringer during the Christmas season. But as far as making a personal difference, Raven is most proud of becoming a National Achievement Finalist, the first African-American in Gadsden to receive that honor. “My community really rallied behind me after this accomplishment, and I was featured on the front page of our local newspaper http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20110928/news/110929809. I have since been invited to speak to several groups, to tell my story, and to give advice to other people seeking success.” Raven added that the support and love “I received from my community and the opportunities for me to give back are both extremely rewarding experiences. They are what I live for.”
Accolades: Raven received the aforementioned recognition as a National Achievement Finalist and was a 2011 Alabama Girls State Delegate. During her sophomore year Raven was the recipient of the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Award.
Interesting Fact: If you are a Beyoncé Knowles fan and would like her autograph, Raven is the person to see. Beyoncé is her cousin.
Other Scholars Like Raven
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Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
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