Thomas Jefferson High School senior Kandice Myers has been awarded a College Match scholarship through QuestBridge for Grinnell College.
She is one of two Thomas Jefferson students out of only six in Iowa to win QuestBridge scholarships this year. The other one is Mia Richardson, who was featured in an article in Friday’s Nonpareil.
The awards are full-ride, four-year scholarships valued at up to $300,000 that can be used for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and travel expenses. Myers will be expected to contribute $2,500 each year from a work study, summer job or personal savings, she said.
Myers said she found out about the program from Spencer Mathews, coordinator of the school district’s Early College Academy at Iowa Western Community College and decided to apply. She has been participating in the Early College Academy and will graduate from Thomas Jefferson this spring with a high school diploma and associate degree in general studies.
“I knew it was a good idea to start two years early on your college education,” she said. “A lot of my teachers were really supportive. I wanted to go to college and needed a better way to afford it. I was really scared I would accumulate huge amounts of debt.”
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“I’m incredibly proud of Kandice,” Mathews said. “She’s an excellent student and very kind and caring person who will make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”
Myers started out focusing on health sciences and took biology and other courses on that track.
“I think I wanted to do that more for the motivation of money,” she said.
Myers decided library science was what she wanted to study, so she shifted to working on an associate degree in general studies, taking British literature, African American history, multicultural history and art/drawing.
“I just thought it would be a lot better,” she said. “I didn’t want to pursue a job I didn’t think I would have fun doing.”
Applying for the QuestBridge scholarship was pretty involved. It included filling out an application and financial aid forms, writing essays, getting references and having her transcripts sent. Grinnell was her top preference.
“I did a little research, and Grinnell has one of the best library science programs,” she said.
Myers has been interested in reading and writing at least since middle school. There, she was in a writing club where students wrote poetry and short pieces and shared them with each other.
“Writing has always been one of my favorite things to do,” she said.
Myers has also volunteered at the Council Bluffs Public Library and learned how a library works.
At TJ, Myers has been a member of the National Honor Society, choir, show choir and jazz choir. She currently has a 4.21 GPA.
TJ has a good atmosphere and is a good learning environment, Myers said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a teacher that didn’t respect me as a person,” she said. “I’ve always had a lot of help as far as college, especially from (TAG teacher Lizzie Busch).”
Myers visited Grinnell a few months ago and plans to go back this spring.
“I’ve never lived outside my house, but I think Grinnell is a perfect place to begin my independence,” she said.