Zaila Avant-garde just had one of the best weeks ever. The Scripps National Spelling Bee champion attended the 2021 ESPYs in New York City this past weekend and was all smiles.
She also made a joyful red carpet appearance ahead of the show wearing a beautiful blue gown along with a bright yellow headband and hoop earrings.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Avant-garde said during a red carpet moment. She said she still can’t quite believe she won the National Spelling Bee.
“So I’m still waiting for that to settle in on me,” she said. “I guess my weekend is going to get even more exciting when I realize.”
The 14-year-old spelling champion also made history as the first African American winner, as well as the first speller from Louisiana to win the annual competition.
“It felt like really good to become a winner simply because of the fact that I’ve been like working on it for like two years and then to finally have it like the best possible outcome was really good,” Avant-garde told “Good Morning America” just hours after her historic win.
Photo credit: ABC News
Read the original article posted on ABC News.
You will design, pitch and demo the app to a panel of judges for the chance to win a scholarship.
The National Mobile App showcase is a great opportunity to improve your programming skills in the language of your choice and learn about product development.
Design and build any application you are passionate about and learn how to give a compelling pitch to an audience of companies looking for students like you!
This competition is here for independent, driven students.
We will provide lightweight checkpoints to help you think through your app, troubleshoot, and finish a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) by the end of the summer.
Build your app at your own pace.
During the Annual BDPA Conference on August 12-14, 2021, you will pitch and demo the app to a panel of judges for the chance to win a scholarship upward We’ve got great prizes this year.
1st Place College Scholarship $3,000
2nd Place College Scholarship $2,000
3rd Place College Scholarship $1,250
1st Place High School $1,750
2nd Place High School $1,250
3rd Place High Scholarship $750
Hope to see you there!
The Mobile App Showcase Team
IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind free scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students announced it was granted its Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification as a validation of its status as a minority-owned business.
The certification verifies that IOScholarships, LLC meets the criteria which requires a business to be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by racial or ethnic minorities who are also U.S. citizens.
“Getting our MBE certification was a natural step for IOScholarships as we continue our ongoing commitment to minority students. We look forward to working with our sponsors and partners to continue helping underrepresented students go to college debt-free.” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.
Most of the scholarships featured on www.ioscholarships.com come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IOScholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and also posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities. The platform also offers a blog with financial education information and a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.
IOScholarships is proud to join the National Scholarship Providers Association an organization that offers tools, resources, professional development, and networking needed to administer a successful scholarship and student support program. In 2019, NSPA awarded $4,275,054,382 to 827,327 students.
By Jeff Berman, Think Advisor
In the latest J.P. Morgan diversity and equity initiative, the firm has teamed with the United Negro College Fund to create the J.P. Morgan Wealth Management HBCU Scholarship Program. The initiative is part of the $30 billion Path Forward commitment to advance racial equity that JPMorgan Chase announced Oct. 8. Building on that commitment, J.P. Morgan Wealth Management said in March it set a goal to hire 300 more Black and Latino advisors by 2025.
The new scholarship program invests in students at historically Black colleges and universities who are interested in careers in financial planning “early on and creates a path for their long-term career success, strengthening the pipeline of diverse talent” for JPMWM, the firm and UNCF said in a joint announcement Monday. The program will provide scholarships and mentorships to students attending one of 11 HBCUs across the U.S. and help them develop the skills they need to grow a career as a financial advisor, they said.
JPMWM will award 75 scholarships annually over the next five years. Students receiving the scholarships will have the opportunity to participate in two summer experiences: the Advancing Black Pathways Fellowship Program and the first-of-its-kind J.P. Morgan Wealth Management Service Center Internship. After completing the internship program, students will also be eligible for another scholarship to be applied to their senior year.
“We’re committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, and that begins by investing in students early on and creating a path for their long-term career success,” according to Christopher Thompson, head of Diverse Advisor Experiences at JPMWM. “We look forward to unlocking an enormous talent potential while boosting interest in a career as a financial advisor, which has excellent growth potential,” he said in a statement.
Click here to read the full article on Think Advisor.
Destiny James, a young woman who received a $50K donation from Drake in 2018, is celebrating a full circle moment and the “God’s Plan” rapper is too.
This week, the 23-year-old Denmark, South Carolina native shared that she was graduating from a master’s program in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Mama, I mastered it. Daddy, I did it. 4 days until I am officially UNC Alum,” James wrote in her Instagram post. Drizzy congratulated her in the comments.
“LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DES,” the Toronto rapper wrote. Drake also posted a photo of him and James on his Instagram story, REVOLT reports.
James began her undergraduate studies in 2015. After appearing in the music video for Drake’s 2018 single “God’s Plan,” James used the $50K scholarship to complete her bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Miami and she graduated from there in 2019. James never applied to the scholarship but her story made it to the right university administrators who ultimately positioned her to feature in Drake’s video, E! Entertainment reports.
Back in 2018, James shared her gratitude on social media, saying the rap artist’s donation was an epic surprise. “Drake told me that he has read great things about me and appreciates how hard I’ve worked through so many trials and decided to give me $50K for my tuition. @champagnepapi THANK YOU SO MUCH!!’ You don’t understand what this means to me!,” said James.
The “God’s Plan” music video, which was directed by Karena Evans and now has well over a billion views on YouTube, captures James’ reaction along with other recipients of the four-time Grammy award winner’s generosity. The University of Miami’s picturesque campus is juxtaposed with the everyday economic struggles shown in stores, schools, churches, and other parts of the city that Drake visits.
As theGrio previously reported, Drake brought both the party and the money to students at the University of Miami and Miami Senior High School. In addition to his donation to James, the rapper wrote a $25,000 check to the high school and also promised to “design new school uniforms,” according to the Miami Herald.
Click here to read the full article on The Grio.
IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students recently announced the launch of its search engine website. The technology has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships.
IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.
Continual increases in tuition and fees have pushed the cost of college education beyond the means of most minority and underrepresented students. Even though STEM occupations have outpaced all other job growth, African Americans represent only 9% of STEM workers, while Hispanics comprise only 7% of all STEM workers.
“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more and more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships. “Students should think about finding scholarships like it’s a part time job.”
The majority of the scholarships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IOScholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and also posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities.
In addition to providing scholarships, the new IOScholarships website introduces a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.
While promoting his Amazon Prime film Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse in late April, Michael B. Jordan put a Kryptonite pin in any rumors that he might suit up as Warner Bros.’ next Superman. “I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation,” Jordan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.”
With that, a whole new guessing game has kicked off centered on who will play the Man of Steel. And arguably more pressing: Who will direct? Sources say J.J. Abrams, who is producing the film, is not among the many possibilities being considered. When Warners announced in February that celebrated author Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing the screenplay and Abrams is producing, it did not address the matter of helming. But insiders say Warners and DC are committed to hiring a Black director to tackle what will be the first cinematic incarnation of Superman featuring a Black actor, with one source adding that putting Abrams at the helm would be “tone-deaf.”
In a fitting twist, the director search is pitting DC against none other than Marvel. As Warners looks to fill its Superman vacancy, Marvel is on the hunt for a Blade helmer and is combing through the same list. But the question will come down to what kind of filmmaker Bad Robot and Warners want: an up-and-comer who can be backed by Abrams, who knows his way around tentpoles and franchises? Or an established filmmaker like a Barry Jenkins or a Ryan Coogler?
The former list can include Creed II’s Steven Caple Jr., J.D. Dillard, Regina King — who got raves for her drama One Night in Miami — and Shaka King, who is popular at Warners thanks to best picture Oscar nominee Judas and the Black Messiah. Some potential directors have met with both studios for both films, even as one agent said the process was “phenomenally early.” Meanwhile, Coogler may be a nonstarter for either assignment given that he will be occupied with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which releases July 8, 2022.
Coates isn’t expected to deliver his Superman script until mid-December. Likewise, Marvel isn’t rushing with Blade, whose start date was pushed from this September to July 2022, so that the studio can spend time working on the Stacy Osei-Kuffour-penned script.
While the next Superman will likely land with a name director, the star could be a relative unknown, as was the case when Brandon Routh suited up for Bryan Singer’s 2006 Superman Returns and Henry Cavill donned the cape for Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel. Neither Superman Returns nor Man of Steel lived up to outsized expectations, with the former earning $391 million worldwide and the latter taking in $668 million. By contrast, James Wan’s Aquaman nabbed $1.15 billion in 2018 and Todd Phillips’ Joker scored $1.07 billion (and multiple Oscars).
Click here to read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.
By Apple Newsroom
For more than 100 years, teaching has run through Hillary-Rhys Richard’s family.
Growing up in Katy, Texas, Rhys, as he’s known to his friends, listened to his mother, Astrya Richard, tell stories of her ancestors — four generations of educators who saw teaching as a calling, and learning as a tool for change.
By the end of high school, Rhys had never had a Black male teacher, and that absence, along with his family’s deep connection to education, helped steer him to follow in their footsteps.
This week, Rhys, 18, will complete his freshman year remotely as part of the inaugural class of the African American Male Teacher Initiative at Huston-Tillotson University. The first-of-its-kind program was created in partnership with Apple as part of the company’s ongoing and deep commitment to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Apple’s multiyear partnership with Huston-Tillotson complements other engagements the company has established through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, working alongside the HBCU community to develop curricula and provide new learning and workforce opportunities.
At Huston-Tillotson, Apple is providing scholarships for the program’s students, called Pre-Ed Scholars, as well as hardware, software, and professional-development courses for students and faculty.
“Every student should have the chance to be taught by someone who represents them,” Rhys wrote in his application essay to Huston-Tillotson. “In order to build strong children, we need strong male teachers to forge a path through being the example for students. The baton has to be passed for us to continue pushing forward. I stand ready to run my leg of the race.”
Currently, only 2 percent of all US teachers are Black men, something the program at Huston-Tillotson seeks to change. When Black students are taught by a Black teacher, they are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college.
Huston-Tillotson President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette has witnessed the power of that relationship firsthand. Her son had a Black male teacher in the fifth grade, and it transformed his education.
“It just really did something magical for him,” says Dr. Burnette. “So this is personal for me because of my own experience raising an African American male. It’s my mission to be able to get these young Black men in classrooms, so they can pour into other vessels like themselves because they have shared experiences. And there’s nothing like being taught by someone who has a shared experience.”
It’s the reason Dr. Burnette prioritized the creation of the African American Male Teacher Initiative and sought out a partner in Apple.
Click here to read the full article on Apple Newsroom.
Atlanta business and civic leader Milton H. Jones, Jr. has been elected Chair of the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Board of Directors, becoming the first African American to hold that position.
Jones succeeds William F. Stasior, Sr., retired Chairman and CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton, who served as UNCF’s Chair for 11 years. Former Chairs of the UNCF board include: John D. Rockefeller, III; former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo’s International Food and Beverage Division Michael H. Jordan and former Revlon President and CEO Jack Stahl.
“Since 1944, UNCF has played an integral role in changing the life trajectory for each student it has served, and l look forward to continuing that legacy,” said Milton Jones. “Our member institutions and students remain the focus of our collective efforts. As we progress each year, we will grow our organization by building upon the strong foundation laid at UNCF’s inception and strengthened throughout its history.”
“All of us at UNCF are excited to have Milton become our new Board Chair,” said UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, who has known and worked with Jones for more than four decades. “Milton brings a wealth of business knowledge and a thoughtful and collaborative leadership approach that will help us thrive and continue to drive UNCF’s and our HBUCs’ impact and growth.”
Angela Webb, founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners said, “We are incredibly proud of Milton as he assumes this role with UNCF. Milton’s life and career are a testament to his devout commitment to helping others and serving the community. We know he will do excellent things and leave a legacy that inspires others to support and revere our country’s HBCUs.”
Walter Davis, founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners said, “Milton has been an indispensable member of our team at Peachtree Providence Partners, so I am certain his time leading with UNCF will prove to be fruitful and inspiring to the young people the organization serves. I look forward to supporting Milton as he advocates for the students and institutions that change the fabric of our nation.”
In this role, Jones will work to grow the UNCF endowment, benefiting the 37 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) belonging to the UNCF network of member institutions.
Prior to his election as Board Chair, Jones served as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance Committee. He has been a member of the UNCF Board since 2005.
Jones is a founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners Holding Company, LLC. In this role, he advises and collaborates with CEOs in key sectors that include financial services, healthcare, technology, government, and higher education. For more than 32 years while at Bank of America, he held a series of senior executive positions with global responsibilities including roles reporting directly to the Chairman and CEO.
Jones is vice chairman of the Meharry Medical College Board of Trustees; treasurer and a board member of 100 Black Men of America; co-chair of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and serves on the advisory boards of the Metro Atlanta YMCA, Boy Scouts and the Commerce Club. He is a member of the Downtown Atlanta Rotary Club and is a member and past chairman of The Atlanta Business League and of 100 Black Men of Atlanta.
Source: Peachtree Providence Partners
Photo Credit: PRNewswire
By Will Moss, HBCU Connect
The recent highlighting of Historically Black Colleges and Universities has led many to learn that most of these schools were founded on land grants provided by the government during the Reconstruction Era. Realizing this has motivated Master P to take matters into his own hands to change the future.
Master P took to Instagram where he revealed his life goal has now changed.
“I used to want to own an NBA team but now I want to own a HBCU,” opens his video’s caption.
“This message is all about educating our people,” Master P said in the video. “Anybody that’s listening to this and has a business, I want y’all to join this movement with me. We need to make sure our kids get educated the way other the cultures are educated.”
The spotlight has been refocused on HBCUs in recent years. Michael B. Jordan created a basketball invitational to showcase talent at the institutions and the NBA has put an emphasis on supporting them. During the NBA All-Star Game, the league generated $3 million that will be used to promote these colleges and universities.
“It was part of the reason why we’re here in Atlanta,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, per CNN. Atlanta is home to a host of HBCUs including the acclaimed Atlanta University Center (AUC) which consists of legendary schools Morehouse College, Spellman College, and Clark Atlanta University. “This was an opportunity to focus on the HBCUs,” Silver added.
Master P wanted to extend this goal on his own. He explained in his IG caption that HBCUs graduate more women than any other league of higher education. This includes the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, who graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Click here to read the full article on HBCU Connect
Michelle Obama returns to Netflix this month. The former first lady will appear in a children’s series called “Waffles + Mochi,” which is part of a multi-year producing deal that she and her husband, Barack Obama, have with the streaming service.
The 10-episode cooking show features Obama alongside a couple of friendly puppet pals as they discover, cook and eat food from around the world. The series debuts March 16.
Additionally, “Waffles + Mochi” is collaborating with Partnership for a Healthier America, where Obama serves as honorary chair, to provide fresh ingredients to families during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
This children’s program is the latest release from the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, as part of its partnership with Netflix that started in 2018. The couple has launched several documentaries, “American Factory,” “Crip Camp” and “Becoming,” on the streaming service.
Signing the Obamas nearly three years ago is part of Netflix’s ongoing strategy of securing exclusive deals with top content creators. Netflix has a long list of these partnerships that includes contracts with Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, Kevin Hart, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and Kenya Barris.
It’s unknown how much the Obamas’ Netflix agreement is worth or how long it is contracted to last.
Last week, Netflix and Higher Ground Productions detailed a slate of programming in development for the streaming service. The projects, which span multiple genres, are set to be released over the next few years:
- “Exit West” is a feature film based on Mohsin Hamid’s novel of the same name.
- “Satellite” is a science fiction film written by Ola Shokunbi and produced by Kiri Hart and Stephen Feder for Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman’s T Street.
- “Tenzing” is a film based on the true story of Tenzing Norgay, the first man to reach the summit of Everest.
- “The Young Wife” is a film from writer and director Tayarisha Poe.
- “Firekeeper’s Daughter” is a series based on Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, which is set to publish this spring.
- “Great National Parks” is a natural history docuseries that explores national parks around the world.
- “Ada Twist, Scientist” is an animated preschool series based on the book series by Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts.
- “The G Word with Adam Conover” is a comedy series hosted by Adam Conover that is based on “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy” by Michael Lewis.
Continue to the CNBC.
By Tamar Lapin
Originally posted on the New York Post.
Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Harvard graduate from California, made US history on Wednesday as the youngest person ever chosen to write a poem for a presidential inauguration.
The Los Angeles native captivated viewers during President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony with her moving rendition of “The Hill We Climb,” a work about unity, healing and perseverance.
“When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” Gorman began her inaugural poem.
She continued: “And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”
Mindful of the past, Gorman honored previous inaugural poet Maya Angelou by wearing a ring with a caged bird — a tribute to the writer’s classic memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted Winfrey, a close friend of the late writer.
Gorman replied: “Thank you! I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in.”
“Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before.”
So how did Gorman get here? At just 16, she was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and her first poetry book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” was released a year later in 2015.
In 2017, she became the country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
Gorman, who graduated in May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology, has read for official occasions before.
Having seen perform at the Library of Congress, First Lady Jill Biden asked Gorman late last month to write something to recite on Wednesday.
“That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem,” Gorman told The Associated Press last week.
She referenced the deadly riot in her work, saying: “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.”
“And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”
Gorman also found commonality with Joe Biden, as both her and the president battled speech impediments.
“Writing my poems on the page wasn’t enough for me,” she told “CBS This Morning.”
“I had to give them breath, and life, I had to perform them as I am. That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”
Read the full article on the New York Post