famu-president-ammons.jpgSteeve Pierre-Lewis, a senior at Blanche Ely High in Pompano Beach, does not have to worry about paying for college. He already has an offer of a full scholarship from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Now he has two offers, the second one being from Florida A&M University – and it’s worth at least $64,000.

"Now I have some solid options," Steeve said. “I can start to make a decision. His parents, he said, are "really happy knowing that I will attending [sic] a great college and they won't have to worry about the expense."

Steeve was one of two area students awarded FAMU’s coveted Life Gets Better Scholarship. The award also went to Alexandria Barnes of the School for Advanced Studies in Miami.

The awards were among 37 that FAMU President James Ammons announced to a gathering at Miami Carol City High School, 3422 NW 187th St., Miami Gardens, Tuesday, on the final stop of his state-wide “President’s Up Close and Personal Tour.”

By the time Ammons was through, he had awarded scholarships worth $566,000 to the students from Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“Corporations award the money because they want FAMU talent,” Ammons told the gathering. “We can take you from bachelor’s to master’s to law school or a doctorate and you won’t have to pay a dime. But you’d better be good.”

Companies are willing to “invest in your development, offer internships and jobs — but only for the best,” Ammons said.

Alexandria will major in chemistry and Steve, biology. The Gets Better Scholarship provides each student with $16,000 per year plus room and board, books, a $500 per-semester stipend, internships, an iPad and a laptop.

To be considered for this award, a student must have a GPA of at least 3.50 and score at least 1800 on the SAT or 27 on the ACT.

Kandice Hill applied for five scholarships without receiving an offer but her luck changed when Ammons came calling with lots of cash for students who qualified. Jermel Stuart, 17, of Northwest Christian Academy in Miami-Dade, got a Presidential Special Scholarship worth $12,000.

“I really didn’t expect to win,” Jermel said, “but my mom and aunt made me come tonight and find out.”

Kandice, also 17, a student at American High School in Miami-Dade, was another one of those who met the requirements. She got a George W. Gore Assistantship to help her pursue studies in public relations. It’s worth $8,000.

One Distinguished Scholarship award, worth $48,000, went to Ariel Foster of Miami Norland High School in Miami Gardens. The criteria for this award are similar to those for the Life Gets Better Scholarship.

A total of 22 students received Gore Assistantship awards of varying amounts, 10 others got the Presidential Special Scholarship and two Miami Dade College students got Florida Community College awards worth $8,000 each.

Kandice’s mother, Tisha Pierre, welcomed the award to her daughter. Saving money for college has been a struggle in the tough economy of today, she said. “I hope this motivates Kandice to continue getting better grades and use what she has learned to be a blessing to others.”

Jermel, who plans to pursue computer engineering, said he has also been offered a partial scholarship to attend Florida Atlantic University. “My family will look at both [offers] closely and we will decide which options are best,” he said.

Cynthia Roby can be reached at CynthiaRoby@bellsouth.net