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NW seniors get nearly $6 million in scholarships

caines | 6/6/2013, 5:30 a.m.

[gallery link="file" orderby="title"] Miami Northwestern Senior High School Principal Wallace Aristide was all smiles last Monday morning during the schools Senior Awards Breakfast and with good reason. Out of a class of 340 graduating seniors, 190 have been accepted to college an increase of 10 percent over 2012. In addition, the graduating class received a record $5.7 million in scholarships and grants to attend their schools of choice. And Aristide says more money continues to pour in. But what was the spark that caused the improvement at Northwestern? Aristide says that helping students have the chance to attend college has happened, in part, because of a unique partnership formed in 2011 between Northwestern, Florida International University [FIU] and JPMorgan Chase known as The Education Effect. The $1 million initiative supports the college-going culture that Aristide routinely champions. Since the partnership was formed, Northwestern has gone from a D to a B school, increased its graduation rate from 64 to 74 percent and increased the number of students earning a 3.0 and above by 15 percent. We always had four or five students get football scholarship at FIU but we only had one or two go there for academics until now, he said. Not only are we supporting our students who want to be prepared for college, but we have a huge number of programs that teach technical and computer skills. Not every child wants to go to college. But we should make sure that those who dont have skills that can earn themselves a decent wage, like cosmetology, culinary arts or auto repair. We have changed the mindset here at Northwestern, Aristide added. We had to convince students to buy into the change but once they did it was amazing how much they improved. These kids are hungry and this year weve broken all records for scholarships and those admitted to college or the armed forces. According to Colonel Marc Garcia, the schools senior Army instructor, 17 students are now part of the JROTC program another record. And six seniors have enlisted in the armed services, receiving $50,000 scholarships under the GI bill. FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said he is particularly proud of the graduating seniors. The principal is leading this change and we see these students transforming right before our eyes, he said. All I can say is Go Bulls. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com