Since 2011, the Posse Foundation has awarded $34.2 million in scholarship money to high school scholars in the greater New Orleans area. The highly competitive scholarships are given to only 40 area seniors each year and award four-year, full tuition, merit-based leadership scholarships to the recipients.
This year, Chalmette High School is home to two of these outstanding students. Graduating seniors Hailey Abrams and Brian Williams will join the ranks of a handful of other CHS alumni who have previously been recognized as Posse scholars.
“Currently, we have 9 Chalmette High students who have won Posse Scholarships,” David Bellard, an English teacher and the Posse scholarship coordinator at CHS said. “We have had at least one student each of the past 5 years win a four-year, full tuition scholarship to one of the Posse New Orleans partner institutions – Illinois Wesleyan University, Case Western Reserve University, Tulane University, and the University of Notre Dame.”
As part of the Posse process, the students are matched to a university that best suits their needs and interests for the future. Hailey was thrilled to learn she would be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall.
“Notre Dame was my first choice,” Hailey said. “I am most excited about the big campus atmosphere and the strong alumni program.”
Hailey looks forward to a future in politics and will be majoring in political science.
Brian will be staying local and attending Tulane University to study engineering and physics.
“I am excited that I will get to stay local and stay true to what I have wanted to do all along,” Brian said. “I will still be close to my family for support while having the biggest opportunity for success.”
Both Hailey and Brian said the Posse process was a grueling one, but the reward made it worth it in the end.
“I learned a lot about myself through the whole process,” Hailey said. “I knew I had to be the leader they wanted to see and I focused my interviews on being true to myself.”
Both students also credited their teachers for preparing them for the next step of their education.
“All of my teachers have really set me up for success,” Brian said. “I know there will be some ups and downs, but I am mentally ready to handle them.”
Bellard echoed the sentiment, acknowledging both the value of a CHS education and the opportunities for students to excel in leadership as well.
“Chalmette High has prepared these scholars through rigorous courses and a challenging academic curriculum,” Bellard said. “These scholars are selected not only because of their academic promise but also because of the tremendous leadership skills they have developed and demonstrate here at school and in their own lives.”