Senior who had no hope of college wins scholarship Rouse program provides opportunity

June 03, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Hyun Ah Kim didn't plan on going to college after graduating from Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City.

Ms. Kim, 19, who came to this country from Korea four years ago, was going to get a job to help her mother, who works as a grocery store cashier.

But things didn't work out exactly as Ms. Kim had planned.

Ms. Kim, one of 266 Mount Hebron seniors who received their diplomas last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, will enter Howard Community College in September in the first group of students in the James W. Rouse Scholars Program.

The 25 high school graduates were chosen for the program through a competitive selection process for a two-year customized honors curriculum at the community college.

Upon completion of the program, the students will transfer to four-year colleges to complete their junior and senior years.

"I think it's going to be a great year for me," Ms. Kim said.

Like Ms. Kim, Mount Hebron's class of 1993 was full of optimism as they ended their high school years last night.

"We can't fear the future, for whatever we become is the future," said senior Greer Colvard, who gave the opening remarks at the graduation ceremony.

Qamar Schuyler, who was selected by Mount Hebron's faculty to address the graduates, urged her classmates to take the time to remember special moments of their high school years -- asking someone to a prom for the first time, skipping class on a beautiful spring day and eating too many crabs at the senior crab feast.

"Now may be the last time to look back on our paths before our perspectives change," she said.

"I remind you to reflect on and celebrate your past. There's always tomorrow to think of the future," Ms. Schuyler said.

When Ms. Kim came to the United States in 1989, speaking only a few words of English, she didn't think college was in her future. She planned to get a job after high school to help support her mother, older brother and younger sister.

Confused about her postgraduation choices, Ms. Kim said she discussed her dilemma with her guidance counselor, Jane Scott, who suggested that she apply for the Rouse scholars program.

"I was very confused when I had to make a decision about college," she said. "I didn't know what to do with my future, and every time I felt that way, I'd walk into her office and come out with all this encouragement."

To show her gratitude to Ms. Scott, "I gave her a few thank-you cards. But I feel like I owe her a lot," Ms. Kim said.

Ms. Kim, who received a $1,500 scholarship from Howard Community College, said she plans to study accounting.

Had she stayed in Korea, she said, she probably wouldn't have had the chance to go to college because of the difficult entrance requirements.

"I feel very lucky to be here," Ms. Kim said. "Not everybody gets this chance."

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