Reverend Pinckney Scholars Thriving in Their First Year of College

Inaugural class of scholars leading on campus and in community; all have 3.0 GPA or higher

CHARLESTON, S.C.: January 12, 2017 – Midway through their first year of college, students in the first class of Reverend Pinckney Scholars, a program of Coastal Community Foundation, are thriving on campus. All scholars have a GPA above 3.0, and four have a 4.0 GPA, with scholars also getting involved in a variety of activities.
“In the shadow of a dark set of circumstances that still haunt our community, these ten Pinckney Scholars provide a ray of hope,” shared Darrin Goss, Sr., President & CEO of Coastal Community Foundation. “Their demonstrated excellence in the first semester of college is a shining example of the life and legacy of the late Reverend Pinckney. They honor him and the rest of the Emanuel 9 through their efforts”.
In their first semester, the scholars have gotten involved in activities ranging from community service to choir, intramural sports and campus ministry. Future educator Brian DeLesline started observation hours for his degree at Charleston Southern University, while Kayla Hasty joined many community service activities as part of the honors college at South Carolina State University. Christian Carter already secured her plans for the summer, staying at North Carolina State University as an orientation leader. Scholars and Foundation staff wished Monejah Black well as she deploys to Kuwait this month as a member of the Air Force Reserves.
The scholars met over winter break for a communications training session from The Step Up Network, a nonprofit focused on soft-skills training and workforce development in the Charleston area. The training, led by Step Up trainer John Ring, Jr., focused on communications strategies for interactions with professors, colleagues and potential employers as the scholars advance into new educational and professional opportunities in 2017.
Applications for the next cohort of Reverend Pinckney Scholars will be made available on CCF’s website later this month. Interested applicants are encouraged to review eligibility criteria on the website. They must complete and submit the online application by March 17th to be considered for the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program. Scholarship finalists will be interviewed at CCF’s Charleston office in May.

Class of 2016 Reverend Pinckney Scholars Detailed Mid-Year Update
Monejah Black (Charleston County) attends Winthrop University and is a member of the Air Force Reserves. She started working as a team manager for the women’s basketball team in the fall. Monejah deploys to Kuwait this month until August, but will continue taking courses online through Winthrop.
Altoria Brown (Charleston County) studies Criminal Justice at North Carolina A&T State University. She enjoyed getting involved in on-campus activities and the close-knit, family feel of her university.
Christian Carter (Beaufort County) attends North Carolina State University, where she is pursuing a degree in Sociology with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. Christian is a member of her residence hall’s governing council and Campus Pals, a YMCA youth tutoring program. She’ll be staying on campus this summer to work as an orientation leader.
Brian DeLesline (Charleston County) is continuing to pursue his dream of becoming an educator at Charleston Southern University. He has enjoyed being a part of the planning committee for Teaching Fellows at CSU and starting observation hours at R.B. Stall High School for his education degree.
Natrese Dorsey (Charleston County) attends Georgia State University and studies Business with a minor in Art. This fall, she worked with the New Georgia Project, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on registering voters and promoting civic engagement.
Carmen Hamilton (Jasper County) studies at Charleston Southern University along with fellow scholar Brian. She is pursuing a degree in Nursing and joined the Nursing Students Association, which provides leadership training, professional development and educational opportunities.
Kayla Hasty (Jasper County) is on her way to becoming a physical therapist at South Carolina State University, where she is also a member of the Honors College. The Honors College entails many community service hours, so she stayed busy with programs like Relay for Life and Backpack Buddies.
Henry Jones (Beaufort County) also studies physical therapy. He attends University of South Carolina – Upstate, where he has been active in gospel choir, intramural sports and the student activities board. Henry is also a member of the We Need To Talk program, which brings students together to talk about issues in society in a safe haven for self-expression.
Kierra White (Charleston County) is studying Healthcare at Spelman College. She loves the diversity amongst her fellow students, noting how older students look out for freshmen. One of her favorite classes was African Diaspora and The World, which taught her a great deal about African culture, race and gender.
Denzel Wright (Charleston County) is exploring a degree in biology at the College of Charleston. He has been an active member of CRU, a Christian student organization, and is looking at learning photography this semester. This summer, he hopes intern with a pharmacy.
About the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program: On July 2, 2015, a group of anonymous donors, moved by the tragic murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and Charleston’s remarkable response to the shooting, created a $3.2 million scholarship fund in honor of Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney. In March 2016, Coastal Community Foundation began to administer the scholarship fund and its companion program, the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program.
About Coastal Community Foundation: Coastal Community Foundation works with people and organizations in our region who want to make a lasting difference through philanthropy. By understanding local needs and remembering the unique history of our region, the Foundation carefully invest resources to protect, enhance and change our community for the better. The Foundation serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry and Jasper Counties. Learn more or call (843) 723-3635.


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