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    Hillhouse High School Valedictorian Receives Prestigious Scholarship to Study Teaching

    (5/3/2012) Hillhouse High School valedictorian Shaylah McQueen has received a prestigious Gates Millenium Scholarship, one of only 1,000 students selected nationwide out of 24,000 applicants. The scholarship will provide McQueen with full college tuition, as well as graduate school tuition in the fields of Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health, or Science.

    Shaylah will use the scholarship to attend Wilson College in Pennsylvania, which has recently become a national center for single mothers in higher education. The college was the first nationwide to offer on-campus residential housing for single mothers with children. The scholarship will enable Shaylah to live on campus with her young son while she pursues her dream of becoming a teacher.

    “Shaylah lives for her son, but she knows that the best way to improve his life is to complete her schooling. She plans to study education in college, and she has already begun developing her teaching skills through volunteering at New Haven Reads and the Peabody Museum and through her efforts as an attendance buddy and her work as a camp counselor,” said Cari Strand, an Independent Studies and Seminar Teacher at Hillhouse. “While the life of a teen mother is difficult, Shaylah has the ability to reflect upon her circumstances and act accordingly, allowing her to continue setting and achieving lofty goals.”

    Shaylah is deeply committed to community service, and has volunteered at the Peabody Museum, New Haven Reads, and the Special Olympics. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Expansion Youth New Haven Project, and founded the Attendance Buddies club at Hillhouse which helps mentor freshman students and encourages better attendance. As part of her teacher preparation program at Hillhouse, she works with students at the Wexler/Grant School.

    “We are all so proud of Shaylah. Through the choices she has made, her dedication to her studies, and her passion for community service, she is exactly what we are talking about when we speak about the importance of a college-going culture. Not only is she working hard to build a better life for herself and her son, but she is working with younger students throughout the district to help steer them towards positive choices as well. Gates could not have chosen a more deserving student,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo.

    Due to her class schedule and after school commitments, Shaylah will have limited availability for interviews. The best time to schedule an interview with Shaylah is between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3. Please contact Elizabeth Benton to arrange an interview.

    Contact Name: Elizabeth Benton

    Contact Email: ebenton@newhavenct.net

    Contact Phone: 203-946-7660

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