Scholarship fair offers students hands-on help

Sisters Tabitha and Ashley Hickmon, left, discuss scholarships provided by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. with sorority members Virginette Welch, front, and Jacqueline Christian.

Aida Mallard/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.

The King Celebration High School Scholarship Fair provided parents and their high school students with one-stop shopping for money for college.

Ashley Hickmon, a junior at Gainesville High School, said the fair gave her an opportunity to learn what scholarships are available while under one roof. Ashley said she has been searching the web for scholarship information, but she was having more success at the scholarship fair. She said the information she collected will help her prepare for next year, when she will be applying to colleges and looking for scholarships.

"I want to learn what I need to do to be eligible and meet requirements to apply next year," Hickmon said.

The King Celebration High School Scholarship Fair, now in its second year, was held last Friday at the King Center. It provided an opportunity for participants to talk one-on-one with scholarship providers, collect lots of information, and also enjoy hot dogs and other refreshments.

Scholarships providers included FAMU, the Alachua County Public Schools Foundation Inc., Gainesville Regional Utilities, Southern Scholarship Foundation, Santa Fe College Foundation, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and others.

Louis Kalivoda, chairman of the scholarship fair, said 10 years ago, the King Commission donated $8,000 to establish the Alachua County/Santa Fe College Minority Scholarship. Kalivoda explained that after a fire destroyed Kennedy Homes, the King Commission had stewardship over the funding, and the $8,000 donation was money left over after the needs of the Kennedy Homes' displaced residents were met. For information about the Alachua County/Santa Fe College Minority Scholarship, visit

Rick Mulligan, executive director of the Alachua County Public Schools Foundation Inc., said there are more than 60 scholarships, ranging from $500 to full scholarships, available to eligible students.

Last year, Mulligan said 250 applications were received and 91 scholarships were awarded. "Students need to look ahead and plan," said Mulligan, adding that one application is good for all of the scholarships offered through the foundation. He said the application deadline is Feb. 22. Applications are available in the Guidance Office at the various schools. For more information, visit or call 352-955-7003.

Tabitha Hickmon knows she wants to attend FAMU and pursue a degree in pharmacy. But she also needs money for college, and she said, the scholarship fair was a good way to find out what's available.

"I find the scholarship fair helpful," Tabitha said. "I come here to find out what (scholarship) I'm eligible for." Hickmon said she already has a $5,000 Florida Education Fund scholarship that she won at a black history cultural bowl in a state competition in Clearwater.

Nontombi Levine, a senior at GHS, said she was at the fair to get good information and to learn. Nontombi said her mother, Vonceil Levine, a counselor at Haven Hospice, is a big motivator of college.

"Not going to college is not an option in my house," Nontombi said. "I'm so excited I'll be going to college."

Diasia Bouie, also a senior at GHS, said she was browsing through scholarship requirements and picking up information for friends who couldn't make it to the fair because they had extracurricular activities.

"There are so many scholarships available through the Alachua County (Public) Schools Foundation," Diasia said. "I'll see if I'm eligible for some of them."

Holloway Samuel, another GHS senior, said the information offered at the fair was complete and helpful.

"I think it will help me find a scholarship," Holloway said. "College is not easy and it's not cheap. I'm looking for scholarships to help me pay for college."

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