The Battle Creek Enquirer
(Originally published by the Battle Creek Enquirer on November 17, and used with permission. The opinions expressed by the Battle Creek Enquirer do not necessarily represent those of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.)
The Legacy Scholars program began earlier this year as part of the foundation’s 75th anniversary celebration. Students from Battle Creek Public Schools and Lakeview Schools will be nominated and chosen each year to receive two-year scholarships to KCC that include tuition and books.
Accompanied by teachers, family and friends, Battle Creek’s first group of Legacy Scholars each signed in and was handed a message.
Two words on a black cotton tee with bright orange writing.
“No limits,” it read.
Alexander Dawkins heard the message loud and clear.
The 11-year-old, Northwestern Middle School student said he wouldn’t waste the gift he’d been given.
“They saw something special and unique in all of us,” he said. “Now we don’t have to worry about how we’ll pay for college. We can’t forget about that.”
The “no limits” message echoed throughout the evening which included videotaped greetings from Battle Creek’s Mayor John Godfrey as well as Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
“Being here means someone saw a world of potential in you . . . the future is yours to share,” Granholm said. “Remember, sixth-graders, there are no limits to what you can do.”
The Legacy Scholars were nominated — by teachers, family or friends — in their fifth-grade year and learned they were chosen this fall, during their sixth-grade year.
“I was really glad when we got the letter in the mail,” said Jacob Baker an 11-year-old Territorial School student. “In case we don’t have the money to pay for college, now we don’t have to worry.”
Baker was nominated by his aunt, Rita Devore of Battle Creek.
“He never thought he was smart enough to receive something like this,” Devore said, obviously proud of her nephew. “I think it’s so important to encourage our kids to go to college. I pushed my daughter all the way and she thanks me for it now.”
Jeanne Miralrio, a teacher at Post Elementary in Battle Creek, nominated three students to become Legacy Scholars and all three students were selected.
“I’m so proud tonight,” she said with tears in her eyes. “They all have overcome some incredible difficulties and they all are here.”
Maria Hurtado, 11, and Maria Ceja, 12, both are students at W.K. Kellogg Middle School and both were nominated by Miralriao.
“We came from Mexico about four years ago,” Hurtado said. “We’re so happy to have this opportunity. Lots of people don’t get a chance to go to school, but we will.”
Alexander Barlow, 12, said he wants to attend college in Florida someday, but is glad to have the chance to start in Battle Creek.
“I can go for two years here and then I’ll be prepared when I go to Florida,” he said. “I’ll get a good start and I’ll be ahead of everyone else when I go away to school.”
Nadine Rogers is raising four grandchildren in Battle Creek and was on hand Tuesday to see the oldest, Alayzia Hickey, become a Legacy Scholar.
She said she hopes her granddaughter’s achievement will set an example for her siblings to follow.
“I think it’s so wonderful to offer encouragement to younger people,” Rogers said. “The scholarship is very nice, but it’s just as important for the younger kids to see a goal they can reach.”