On May 11, 2017, NFL Pro Bowl Safety and Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Jenkins and The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation awarded scholarships to New Orleans college bound seniors, participating in the Foundation’s Project R.E.W.A.R.D.S. program (Reinforcing Education With Activities, Recreation and Developmental Supports) program in collaboration with College Track New Orleans for their commitment to academic excellence, leadership and community.The awards presentation was part of College Track New Orleans’ 6th annual Launch to College Ceremony, held at The Historic Carver Theater in New Orleans. The Foundation honored 16 of the 48 graduating seniors from this year’s class of 2017 as Malcolm Jenkins Scholars. With this honor, each student received a $1,000.00 scholarship toward financing his/her college education. An inspirational keynote address was delivered by The Honorable Terri Fleming Love, Court of Appeals Judge for the 4th District State of Louisiana, to graduating seniors from more than 15 high schools in the New Orleans metro area, their parents and other guests in attendance.“We are so proud to continue our partnership with College Track New Orleans in our mission to creating a positive and lasting impact in the lives of young people and their communities. Each year, we are continually impressed by those students who apply for the scholarship. Their perseverance to transcend the limits of their circumstances, dedication to making a difference, commitment to their education and vision for the future is inspiring,” said Jenkins. To date, more than $101,000.00 in scholarships have been awarded by The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation to 72 graduating high school seniors, of which 48% (35) are first generation college students.The event also honored college graduates from the second cohort of College Track graduates from the class of 2013, many of whom received scholarships from The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation. Gwendolyn V. Jenkins, President of The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, presented the scholarships, which are awarded for Academic Excellence, Most Improved and Overcoming Adversity.
House Education ChairRep. Nancy Landry109 S. College RoadLafayette, LA 70503.Dear Rep. Nancy Landry,
I support one of the Cowen Institute’s recommendations of Instituting a Sliding Scale. If legislators want to ensure all students can remain eligible for the program, regardless of income, I recommend that the state create a means-tested sliding scale that offers students scholarship support based on their family income. All students, regardless of family income, could still qualify for TOPS, but the amount of the award would vary — students coming from families with lower incomes would receive larger rewards than students from families with higher incomes.When Mr. Patrick Taylor conceived the plan in 1988 and the state implemented it as Act 789, TOPS guaranteed access to college for low- and moderate-income students based on their academic achievements, and not on their ability to pay. In 1997, the governor enacted Act 1375 and Act 287 — removing the income cap. I personally believe the income cap was removed to assist the wealthier citizens of Louisiana. The wealthier citizens did not qualify for Pell Grant assistance, so their friends in the legislature gave them some assistance.According to a U.S. News & World Report “Best States” list in February 2017, Louisiana is the worst state in the country according to a new analysis based on health care, education, infrastructure, crime and other quality-of-life measures. The TOPS program afforded college-age students the ability to stay home or at least in the state to attend college. The state should be thrilled that we are staying home and attending state schools. If TOPS is going to give us $2.00 a semester, then we can go to schools out of the state. If we have to take out loans to attend college we might as well leave the worst-rated state and experience one of the better 49 states.I consider myself to be a fair person; this is why I prefer the instituting of a sliding scale for TOPS. Yes, TOPS started with an income cap, I would qualify under the income cap. I just believe that if we want to make the state a better place for ALL to live, we need to allow financial assistance to ALL that meet the academic criteria. We have to keep our brightest and driven commodities, the youth, in the state. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” — Nelson Mandela. Let’s use TOPS to help us to change Louisiana’s ranking from worst state to best state.Sincerely,Karriem A. BennettWarren Easton Charter High School