Tamera Tate, an 11th-grade student at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, was awarded the scholarship by the College Board in a ceremony held on Thursday, March 2, the school announced.
One of only 12 students in the entirety of New York state to be chosen for the $10,000 scholarship, Tate was selected after participating in BigFuture, an online guide created by the College Board that helps students plan for what comes after high school.
Just by participating in the program, students can either win $500, $10,000, or even $40,000 scholarships.
When representatives from the College Board visited the school on Thursday, the plan was originally for the organization to simply hold a presentation about BigFuture. Instead, officials surprised Tate with the news that she had won.
"This feels surreal," Tate said about winning the funds, adding, "It’s really surprising and exciting. I thought I would get $10 or something."
Both Tate's mother, Paulette Warren, and her twin sister, Tia Tate, were in attendance for the ceremony and witnessed her receive the award.
Warren said that the moment was very meaningful for her.
"The future is bright. From the day they (Tia and Tamera) were born, I knew there was going to be some victory for them, but how, I didn’t know.”
School officials also commented on Tate's win, saying that she earned it.
"When you plan and set goals, you are more likely to be successful. You took a few moments to take that opportunity, and those few moments turned into $10,000," said Mount Vernon Acting Superintendent K. Veronica Smith.
STEAM Academy Principal Lillian Serret-Morales also commented, saying, "Tamera is a hard-working girl. I’m so proud of her. She took the initiative. She just went and got it. We encourage our students to try everything, and that’s why we work. It is the sunshine of my life when I see my students achieve.”
Tate currently plans to use the money to earn a degree in nursing and is considering schools such as Stony Brook University in Suffolk County.
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