Access College Foundation surprises local students with $25,000 scholarships


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Three unsuspecting teens received a knock on their front doors Tuesday afternoon.

On the other side: a $25,000 scholarship from the Access College Foundation, and a caravan of supporters.

“My heart was beating, I did not know what was going on. I’m so excited, so happy and so grateful,” said recipient Charlescie Brown.

Brown’s home was the first of three stops for the caravan. She’s 2020 graduate from Churchland High School in Portsmouth.

“When we got her application, I read it and she went to the top of the list,” explained Brown’s Access advisor for Churchland, Christian Howton. “She has a really interesting back story, she’s really overcome a lot in her 18 years. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.”

As part of the application process, each of the winners had to write an essay about beating the odds.

“They told different things that happened in their life or different things about their personal situations showing that they’ve all overcome tremendous odds to get to where they are today which is a student that’s at the top of their class,” said Bonnie Sutton the President and CEO of Access College Foundation.

Brown plans to study biochemistry at Old Dominion University then go to pharmacy school. She says this scholarship means she won’t have to get a part-time job while in school and can focus on her studies.

After Brown, the caravan surprised two more students, Terrance Wilson from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, who will also attend ODU, and Siarrah Pryor from First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach. Pryor will attend Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

For this graduating class who missed out on so much during the coronavirus pandemic, these scholarships contribute to the bright future they have ahead.

“It was just very upsetting that I didn’t get to walk across the stage and have the whole experience, have senior prom, but you know this really beats it all,” said Brown.

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