Santa Fe honors grads of National Achiever Society


Published: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 7:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 7:16 p.m.

Dr. Israel Tribble Jr. had a dream that minority students could be exposed to all the educational opportunities that life can offer.

Facts

This weekend's honorees include:

  • Willie Adams: Graduating from Hawthorne High School, where he is valedictorian; won Academic Athlete Award and is in the 2008 Hawthorne High School Hall of Fame; GPD Police Explorer Academic Award; dual-enrolled at SFCC and will transfer to the University of Florida.

  • Christopher Dixon: Graduating from Santa Fe High School, where he was vice president of Student Government; attending Florida A&M University on scholarship.
  • Michelle Driver: Graduating from Santa Fe High School, where she was a 4-H member for eight years; 2007 inductee into the Florida
    Agriculture Hall of Fame; attended the National Young Leaders
    Conference in Washington, D.C., and won first place in the 2008
    Florida State Fair livestock judging out of 70; attending Florida A&M
    University on scholarship.

  • Kenneth Parker: Santa Fe High School graduate, who won second place in the state at the 2007-2008 History and Culture Brain Bowl competition; dual-enrolled at SFCC and awarded a scholarship to Florida Southern College.

  • Justin Stafford: Graduating from Eastside High School IB Program, where he was student body president, 2008 Brain Bowl Math Team captain and co-founder and vice president of the Mock Trial Club; has received
    a four-year Presidential Scholarship to Davidson College.
  • Tyler Standifer: Graduating from Santa Fe High School and dual-enrolled at SFCC; 2008 Recipient of the Rosa Park Award; Florida Medallion Award recipient; has been awarded a full scholarship to
    Florida State University.

To make his dream a reality, Tribble, a former vice president at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville and a one-time provost at Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, founded the National Achiever Society, an enrichment group for academically gifted minority students.

The late Dr. Tribble's vision has paid handsomely, with thousands of young people being honored nationally.

This weekend, the Santa Fe Community College chapter of the National Achiever Society honored its six graduating seniors, who were inducted while in elementary school and stayed active throughout middle and high school.

To be active in the organization, the students had to have an adult sponsor, maintain high grades and participate in community service. The graduates, all from local high schools, were recognized at a luncheon on Saturday to raise scholarship money for the program.

John Cowart, director of the SFCC chapter, said the program helps the students achieve success not only in high school, but also in their lives after graduation.

"These young future leaders are sheltered from some of the nonsense that youth are exposed to today," Cowart said.

All the seniors have at least a 4.1 weighted GPA and have been accepted to college.

While the seniors are going to different colleges and into different fields of study, they all agree that their experiences with the program have helped them get to where they are today.

"It always provided a foundation and a basis of support," said Justin Stafford, 17. "It really helped me to stay focused."

The organization helps all of its members to be more successful in their education and their personal lives, said Kenneth Parker, 17.

"It's fun because I had the opportunity to grow, and I can be aroundpeople who are just like me and I don't have to feel like an outcast," Parker said.

The students' parents agree that the program is an invaluable experience for their children.

"It instills in them an awareness of what's going on with people and gives them a work ethic," said Pat Dixon, mother of senior Christopher Dixon.

The program has about 180 active students locally, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Of the students inducted into the society in elementary school, about 75 percent go on to graduate as active members, Cowart said.

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