South Atlanta High student shines among Gates Millennium Scholars

By now, most everyone in the APS community is familiar with the announcement this week of the 2010 Gates Millennium Scholarships, with APS leading the nation in the number of scholarships received at 29. And as some may have noticed in this moving account inside Thursday’s article in the AJC, one student in particular stands out as not only a remarkable personal success story but also an example of how the High School Transformation Initiative is making a difference in the lives of APS students. With a combination of determination, challenging academics and a life-changing school partnership, South Atlanta High senior Alyssia Clore (pictured) has overcome the odds to become a Gates Scholarship recipient. As Gracie Bonds Staples reported, Clore has a father who’s been laid off for three years, and she found herself homeless at one point in her life and almost died after lapsing into a diabetic coma when she was 11. But the student in the South Atlanta School of Health & Medical Sciences remained focused on her academics and her future. She’s alsot a member of South Atlanta’s first graduating class under its new small-schools model.

Part of the School of Health & Medical Sciences includes a partnership with the Emory University School of Medicine that includes two components: the Emory Pipeline (featured on Page 8 of the Spring 2009 issue of The Atlanta Educator), in which students interact with Emory faculty and students on theoretical case studies; and the Research Internship and Science Education (RISE) program, which in itself includes a $6,000 internship. This stipend literally enabled Alyssia Clore to help feed her family, which is comprised of her father, her grandmother and a brother who’s a freshman at South Atlanta.

[The RISE program) has given me an insight into what a college atmosphere would be like, and it’s helped me to determine my major in college,” sais Clore, who plans to major in biology at Spelman College. “Emory really helped me decide on what I wanted to do. When I realized the research I did at Emory could possibly help others, I realized I wanted to go into more in-depth in the subject in my studies.”

Clore also enjoys the possibilities given her at her recently transformed high school — even though at first she didn’t know what to make of it. “When I first heard about it my freshman year, it just sounded different,” Clore said. “I kind of felt like I wouldn’t get a real high school experience because it was so divided up. But now I appreciate the small learning communities because I have a more personalized relationship with my teachers and my principal. For one thing, my principal knows all the students by name. I can go to my teacher or principal (Termerion McCrary) about anything, whether it’s school related or not.”

Carla Aldridge has watched Clore grow in her junior and senior years, Aldridge’s first years as the school’s guidance counselor. With this personalized experience, Clore is ranked No. 4 in  her graduating class, and racked up more than $500,000  worth in scholarship offers. “She’s such a warm person, and not easily influenced,” Aldridge said of Clore. “She knows her mind and she follows it. She wants to better herself, not just for her but also her brother. She’s at the point now where she’s an ambassador for our students, telling them that despite their hardships, they can overcome.”

One thought on “South Atlanta High student shines among Gates Millennium Scholars

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  1. Alyssia, I knew you had potential the day we met at Luther Judson Price Middle School in Ms.Boatright’s class. Continue to do you best and I wish you unparalled success in the future.
    Your friend,
    Breana Williams

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