For a university freshman, the first semester can often be a challenge. Hence, it was great to hear how three of SEF’s John Cary Scholarship recipients are doing in their first year in college.

Takia McMorris graduated last spring from Parkway Central and South Tech. In her scholarship application, she was described as someone with an insatiable appetite for learning with a constant desire to go beyond the required to achieve a greater understanding of herself and her world.

In high school, Takia had a long list of activities in and outside of school, including volleyball, basketball, the Parkway Central Mixed Choir, the Praise Dance Ministry, Missouri Women in Trade, the National Society of Black Engineers, and volunteers with Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital by sending Get Well cards to children.

This week I reached out to her mother, Brenda Brown, to see how Takia was doing, and the report was very positive.

Takia is adjusting to college life at UMSL, Mrs. Brown shared with me noting that she has transitioned nicely to campus and is getting along well with her roommates.

She adds that Takia “is in the Dual Engineering program and loving it!”

As the fall semester for college students draws near its end, we’ve been reaching out to this year’s recipients of the John Cary Scholarships to see how their first semester is going. Last week we shared an update from Takia McMorris, who is attending UMSL.

Two other Scholarship award winners, Isabelle Lencz and Caroline Bellido, are thriving as well.

Isabelle is a Valley Park High School graduate attending Missouri State in Springfield this fall. Caroline is also a graduate of the 2019-20 Fred Saigh Leadership Academy class and is attending the University of Oklahoma after graduating from Parkway West.

Isabelle reports that her first semester has been going great. She writes, “I love my classes even though some are challenging. My favorite class is Art 100, otherwise known as 2D design. It is challenging, but I am having so much fun creating art pieces. Thank you again for the scholarship to help me get here. I am so glad that I get to be on this wonderful campus. Go Bears!

Isabelle said that her favorite place on campus is probably the swimming pool. She adds, “My suite mates and I go there to take breaks to study and to exercise. It is a great way to unwind after a long day!

Meanwhile, Caroline writes, “being here at OU this semester has been going great! Working hard and getting good grades! Making straight A’s! The scholarship has helped me tremendously, and I appreciate that.” 

She also shared a selfie of her walking to one of her classes with the student Union behind her, which she says is “where I like to hang out before my classes!

The application deadline for next year’s John Cary Scholarships is January 24, 2023. The John Cary Scholarship is awarded to seniors who receive services from SSD bound for post-secondary education, which reflects the characteristics most admired by John Cary – resiliency, courage, and determination.