Senior Natalee Twiford becomes county’s first Dell Scholar

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Cole Basnight, Sports Editor

Senior Natalee Twiford received big news April 10. This was the day she learned that she was one of eight students in North Carolina to win the prestigious Dell Scholarship.

“I am super excited [about winning], I never thought I would win a national scholarship. It’s a big deal. I cried I was so excited,” Twiford said.

The Dell Scholarship is a college scholarship that is given to 300 students that meet the organization’s GPA requirement. In the case of this scholarship, GPA takes on a new meaning. G stands for grit, grit by overcoming personal challenges related to family, school or community. P stands for potential, potential by participating in college readiness programs and seeking out academic rigor. A stands for ambition, ambition by dreaming of obtaining a college degree.

Twiford has been an AVID student since seventh grade. AVID, which stands for advancement via individual determination, is a college readiness program. It is the “P” factor that helped Twiford qualify for this scholarship. It is the only Dell Scholarship approved college readiness program offered in Dare County.

Twiford applied for the scholarship as an assignment for her AVID 12 class. College counselor Seth Rose came in to talk to students about the scholarship prior to them beginning the application process.

“I generally look around for scholarships that might suit our students. I look through a lot of them, this happened to be one that fit, particularly, with the AVID students so the good thing was, it’s a scholarship with a lot of money and narrowed down to a particular set of groups so that increases your odds and gives you more chances of actually winning it,” Rose said.

The scholarship itself is $20,000 over the span of four years, so $5,000 is given to the student each year he/she is in college.  Dell Scholars also receive gifts such as coupons for books in college, a free Dell computer of their choice and free seminars to help answer their questions. The program also awards more scholarships for tutoring opportunities. The scholarship is acceptable at any college in the nation.

“I got an email in February saying that I was a semi-finalist and that my recommender, which is Mrs. Dixon had to go back online to answer a few questions,” Twiford said. “She went and answered some questions for me and then I waited until to April 10 to find out the results.”

The academic support given to Dell Scholars helps ensure success; students who are Dell Scholars have a higher graduation rate.

“I was so hyped, I mean she’s one of 300 of probably tens of thousands of people who’ve applied across the country,” Rose said. “It’s worth $20,000, so it’ll completely help her pay for college and the rate of students who graduate from college that have the Dell Scholarship is around 80 percent.”

Twiford plans on attending East Carolina University in the fall, and she hopes to graduate with a degree in nursing.