The Andover-based ALKU consulting agency has awarded a $20,000 college scholarship to a deserving high-school senior who will pursue a four-year college degree after working hard to become an exemplary student while partnered with a mentor since she was a fourth-grader.
Garshae Mowatt-Mckenzie, a student at Boston Community Leadership Academy in Boston, is the recipient of the prestigious award, according to a press release issued by ALKU.
The recipient must have benefited from a positive mentoring experience with an adult, be involved in the community, have shown leadership in school and outside activities, and demonstrate financial need. The scholarship is distributed over four years.
With national headquarters at Brickstone Square, ALKU has been taking part in the Mass Mentoring Partnership for the past five years. The scholarship was created by ALKU founder and CEO Mark Eldridge, who is also a member of the partnership's governing board, according to the release.
Mowatt-Mckenzie was matched with Rachel Weidenfeld from Big Sisters/Little Sisters Association of Greater Boston eight years ago when she was in fourth grade.
Weidenfeld, director of community health and education at Justice Resource Institute, said meeting Mowatt-Mckenzie was one of the highlights of her life.
"She has distinguished herself in high school, both through her academics, her success on the Debate Team, and also through her work serving the homeless. She is optimistic about the future and has set her sights on attending college and after that, law school," Weidenfeld said in the press release.
Mowatt-Mckenzie credits Weidenfeld with inspiring her love of reading and encouraging her to apply herself in school. With Weidenfeld’s support, Mowatt-Mckenzie said she quickly excelled and proved to herself that she was capable of great things.
“The feeling of being new at something, but still giving it your all and coming out victorious, is a feeling I wish to have over and over again,” Mowatt-Mckenzie said.
ALKU is a specialized consulting services firm focused on deploying highly skilled consulting resources in several areas, including healthcare information technology.
“We received many applications from outstanding students who have overcome extraordinary challenges in their lives,” Eldridge said. “The ALKU Scholarship committee was inspired by Garshae’s story. She is extremely bright and determined, and her relationship with her mentor has had an enormous impact on her life and opened her eyes to what is possible. It is exactly what we hope will happen with every student in a mentoring relationship.”
The ALKU Scholarship will be presented Nov. 12 at MMP’s annual Cheers to Mentoring event at the Liberty Hotel in Boston.
This is the fifth year in a row ALKU and Mass Mentoring Partnership have awarded the scholarship.