larry_robinson_web.jpgStaff Report

TALLAHASSEE — Miami Lakes Educational Center senior Michelle Wilson doesn’t have to worry about paying for college.

Wilson, 18, received the Distinguished Scholarship Award, worth more than $50,000, to attend Florida A&M University during the annual FAMU President’s Tour to recruit the brightest  from around the state.

 “This is absolutely exciting,” said Wilson, who plans to study molecular biology. “When they were calling names, I thought there were a lot of qualified students and didn’t expect to be called. I am really looking forward to attending FAMU and being a part of the FAMU family.”

Theresa Wilson said she is proud of her daughter, who has a 3.9 unweighted grade point average and a 5.1 weighted grade point average. She sets a great example for her younger brother, her mother said.

“Her brother should be at the reception, too, so he can see what happens when you work hard,” she said with huge smile. “She often stays up late doing her homework. Hard work really pays off.”

Interim FAMU President Larry Robinson presented $192,000 in scholarships to Miami-Dade students during the recruitment fair held at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium in Liberty City on March 10.

The next day, he awarded another $131,000 to Broward County students at a reception held at Hallandale Magnet High School.

Essence Miles said she was in pure shock when she heard FAMU Vice President for Student Affairs William E. Hudson Jr. call out her name for a scholarship.

“I was like, ‘Whoa!’” said Miles, 18, of Coral Springs. “When I came to the recruitment fair, I thought I was just going to see what the school was all about. I didn’t think I was going to earn a $4,000 scholarship on the spot.”

Miles’ mother Tanisha McFarlane, who attended the event with her daughter, described as heartwarming what the university was doing.

“I liked how the individual booths were set up, because when you go to a big fair people often times don’t have time to focus on you,” McFarlane said.  “This was more intimate and personal.”

Prospective FAMU students had an opportunity to meet with recruiters from various colleges, schools and departments and receive one-on-one assistance. They also could check the status of their admission applications.

Jessica De La Cruz discovered she had been accepted into the university and her letter was already in the mail.

“This feels great!” she said after learning she was accepted. “I used to cry thinking I was never going to college.”

Robinson told the future Rattlers that great things happened everyday at FAMU. “I firmly believe that going to FAMU is the best decision you will ever make,” he told the gathering of nearly 300. “It is our job to bring out the best in you as a student. When you come through our doors, we get you prepared for those challenges. It is your time to come and experience Florida A&M University.”

During the tour, current FAMU students talked about their experiences at the only majority black state university.

“When I think of FAMU, I think of change,” said Larry Polynice, Mr. FAMU 2012-2013. “FAMU has truly changed my life for the better.”

Frank Johnson, an environment student from Kansas City, Mo., agreed.

“Everyone has a different story to tell,” said Johnson, who recently earned an internship with Disney.

“FAMU gave me an opportunity that no other school would give me. FAMU gives you a sense of family.

“It’s really a home away from home.”

Robinson said that FAMU is a great source of talent not only for the state of Florida but also for the entire nation.

“There is nowhere in the nation that you will not find a FAMU graduate,” Robinson said.