Long way from Rich Square

Quiana Harris, a proud native of Rich Square, North Carolina; a rural town in eastern North Carolina with a population of under 900 citizens, just knew she was headed to a four-year college or university in the Atlanta area once she graduated from a high school with a large low-income enrollment. In 2012, she graduated in the top five of her class. She had a 3.8 GPA and a 1620 SAT score.

Filled with excitement and anticipation, Harris, her family and supporters packed up the family car and drove to Atlanta to tour colleges and universities in the area, confident she would be attending one of the school’s of her choice. Then the reality set in. She received notice from her “dream school” that she was not awarded enough scholarship money to attend that institution. Other similar letters soon followed.

“I was confused and my confidence was slightly shattered,” she recalled. “Why am I not good enough,” she asked herself. Because of her family’s financial situation, a single mom struggling to raise two children (she and her little sister), she knew her mother could not afford to finance out-of-state tuition. Her hopes grew dimmer as her graduation day approached. Acceptance letters rolled in, but with minimum to no scholarship awards. “I began to feel defeated,” she said.

Then one day she heard from Winston-Salem State University. Not only had she been accepted but had been selected as a Provost Scholar, which paid for more than half her tuition before she even set foot on campus. Harris recalled that when she and her mother arrived on campus for freshman orientation (know as RAMDITION), they were informed that after other various scholarships and grants were applied all she would need to pay for her remaining balance was $80.00. Neither she nor her mother could believe it.

Harris took full advantage of the opportunity she received at WSSU. She discovered her passion for the legal world and has participated in various internships rooted in improving communities that resembled her own.

She has much to consider prior to her graduation from WSSU in May. The main consideration for her is which law school she will attend. There are many. They include: North Carolina Central University School of Law; the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clark Law School; Howard University School of Law; Campbell University School of Law; the University of North Carolina School of Law; and the George Washington School of Law, all with scholarships offers ranging from partial to full tuition.

The future looks extremely bright for Quiana Harris because she was given an opportunity to shine.

Hear an excerpt from a recent speech she gave about her extraordinary journey.

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