OG senior wins $25K scholarship

By HASKEL BURNS,

When Taylor Norman, a senior at Oak Grove High School, first heard about the Horatio Alger National Scholarship – an annual $25,000 scholarship that recognizes students who have displayed a commitment to pursue higher education despite facing great adversity – she may not have given it much thought.

But after her school counselor approached her with the idea of applying for the scholarship, Norman proceeded with the process and ending up being named one of only 106 students throughout the country who received the award – and the only one to ever be named from Oak Grove High.

“It was really amazing and surprising to me to get one there; I didn’t really think I’d get it,” Norman said. “My mom had passed away last year in April, and so whenever my counselor brought it to my attention, I just thought it was best for me to fill it out. I know that I want to go to college and do better for myself and for my mom.”

The scholarship, which is awarded through the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, is offered to students who come from household with an average income of $17,675 per year and who maintain a Grade Point Average of 3.84. Each scholarship recipient is awarded $25,000 to apply toward educational costs of the college or university of their choice and will have access to a variety of association-provided resources, including counseling and referral services, career exploration opportunities and alumni connections.

Norman plans to use her scholarship to attend William Carey University, where she will major in biology before going to medical school to be a gynecologist.

“I’ve always wanted to be a gynecologist,” she said. “But just the fact that I know I don’t have my mom behind me anymore, I know that I have to work harder for it now. So that kind of drives me, just knowing that I can make her proud.”

In addition to the scholarship, each recipient will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., during the first week of April to attend the Horatio Alger National Scholars Conference and participate in college preparedness and other educational sessions. During the conference, scholars will have an opportunity to learn about the association, its members and the various support programs in which they can partake during their collegiate careers.

They also will have the opportunity to meet several of the famous Horatio Alger members who fund the scholarship programs, including Rob Lowe, Reba McEntire and Jewel Kilcher.

“I’m actually kind of nervous and excited at the same time, because we have to go alone,” Norman said. “But I am excited to see what they’ll have us doing. We’ll be there for about four or five days, and I can’t wait, really.”

In conjunction with the NSC, National Scholars also will be recognized at the association’s 73rd Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies, during which the association will induct 14 distinguished new members, consisting of accomplished corporate, civic and cultural leaders. The Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program and National Scholars Conference are wholly funded through private donations from association members and friends.

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans was founded in 1947. Since 1984, the association has awarded more than $180 million in college scholarships to more than 27,000 qualifying students.

In 2019 alone, the association awarded more than $21 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to 2,500 students across the United States and Canada.

“The association is delighted to recognize the 106 2020 National Scholars,” said James F. Dicke II, president of the Horatio Alger Association and 2015 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “These students continue to face many challenges, yet remain dedicated to their education and prioritize giving back to their communities. On behalf of our entire membership, partners and staff, we are proud to support these scholars as they pursue their dreams in college and beyond.”