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NC A&T awards top merit scholarship to Kinston High senior

As leader of the brass section in the Kinston High School band, Javiar Grady has finely tuned hearing; but when North Carolina A&T State University called last week to tell him he’d won a top merit scholarship, Javiar didn't trust his ears.

African American high school senior poses in front of a white wall that shows his shadow.“I asked him to repeat what he'd said, just to make sure I’d heard what I heard,” Javiar remembered. “Then I said, ‘Thank you so much. It’s an honor.’”

And a rare honor. A&T’s February One scholarship is awarded to just 15 first-year students a year – five each from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Education and the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences. The fully funded four-year award covers the costs of tuition, related fees, housing, meals and participation in University Honors Program activities and enrichment.

Javiar will enter the College of Education with aspirations of becoming an elementary school teacher. “I’ve always wanted to impact the lives of others,” he said. “It’s best to make that impact at a young age. I’m a firm believer in the Scripture, ‘Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ If you teach them while they’re young, your hope is that they grow up and will never forget that teaching.”

Another strong passion – music – may get crowded out in college, at least initially. “Their band is top-tier,” he said of A&T’s award-winning Blue and Gold Marching Machine. “But I’m not sure if I would march in college, especially with the workload. I don’t want anything to stop me from getting the grades I need.”

At Kinston High, Javiar has progressed from a novice musician as a freshman to captain of his school band’s brass section and, as a senior, assistant drum major. He attended North Carolina Governor’s School in theater this past summer and is a member of the Drama Club and Gospel Choir. He is active in the FBLA, a business and leadership club, is a student representative on the School Improvement Team and works as an AmeriCorps student tutor.

Javiar became a scholarship finalist after being accepted into A&T’s Honors College – on the basis of his grades, recommendations and essays – and completing a video interview. A month ago, he attended Honors Weekend for a final interview and a chance to look around the Greensboro campus and visit the College of Education.

Although he also investigated the band program, the campus visit and the focus on a full-ride scholarship that preceded and followed it helped the senior come to some understanding of his future. “Music is a big part of my life. But I had to make up my mind. I’m going to college for an education” Javiar said. “When the music stops, who are you? I guess that’s what I’m going to have to figure out in college.”