Wayne County fourth grader wins college scholarship

Posted January 10, 2012 3:15 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2012 6:48 p.m. EST

— Fourth-grader DeQuan Jefferson got a head start on paying for college Tuesday when he was named the winner of a $20,000 scholarship to attend Appalachian State University.

DeQuan had the highest score on the math achievement test at the end of the third grade out of all minority students in Wayne County Public Schools. DeQuan, who attends North Drive Elementary School, was the 19th Wayne County student to benefit from the fund, established by an anonymous donor to reward minority students do who well on standardized tests.

Should he qualify for admission to App State, he will get $20,000 for his freshman year. If he maintains a 2.5 grade-point average, he can renew the scholarship each year.

DeQuan said math comes easily to him for the most part. 

"Thank Jesus. He gives me all the smarts so I could get a scholarship," he said.

His teacher, LaSonya Brooks, called DeQuan an excellent student. "He always does his work on time. Always comes in with a smile. He's just a joy to teach," she said.

Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of the Wayne County Public Schools, said the scholarship helps students stay focused on academic success and begin preparing early for college.

DeQuan already knows that focus is key to his goals. He wants to be a football player, an eye doctor or a dentist.

"Always pay attention in school, and whenever someone tries to get you in trouble or whenever someone tries to distract you, just ignore them and keep working," he says.