The Turner Chapel AME Church, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Kenneth Marcus, and Youth Pastor Rev. Don Ezell, has a model the White House should be paying attention to. Through the college planning support offered through the church’s Education Ministry, their 2014 class of 48 graduating high school seniors has been offered over $4.3 million in scholarships and financial aid from over 125 colleges and universities—including such highly selective colleges as Cornell, Columbia, Spelman, Morehouse, Xavier University (LA), Pomona College, Williams College, Wake Forest, University of Southern California, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Boston University, and Syracuse University. 24 of the graduating students who participated in the church’s 2014 College Planning Cohort accounted for $3.4 million of the total.

The scholarships and financial aid offers include a 2014 Gates Millennium Scholar—the church’s 4th Gates Millennium Scholar—and the church’s 2nd and 3rd Posse Foundation Scholars. The 48 students—who attend high school in Cherokee, Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, and Paulding Counties, Marietta City Schools and Atlanta Public Schools, and a few who receive private and home-schooled educations—will be celebrated at the church’s 7th annual High School Graduation Celebration Worship Service on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 9:30 am.

Many of these graduating high school seniors were rising middle school students when nationally acclaimed author and educational consultant Mychal Wynn, and his wife Nina Wynn, volunteered to take the reigns of the Turner Chapel AME Church’s Education Ministry. Through the church’s college planning, essay writing, and interview preparation workshops; CRCT Prep and SAT Prep sessions; bi-annual academic celebrations; annual college fair; annual college tour; college discussion panel of current and graduated college students; as well as the annual High School Graduation Celebration, the church has cultivated a culture of high academic expectation, leadership, and service.

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