Messenger photo by Heather Taylor
|Walnut Ridge High School graduate El Haji Falilou Ndiaye stands between his guidance counselor Gwen Williams Wade, left and Principal Tim Carpenter, right, after receiving congratulations from the Columbus school board for earning a Gates Scholarship and being named one of Ebony magazine’s top 50 students.
The Columbus school board meeting on June took time to honor the accomplishments of a Walnut Ridge High School student originally from West Africa, El Haji Falilou Ndiaye, who won the Gates Millennium Scholarship and is listed as one of Ebony magazine’s top high school seniors in the country, one of 20 students honored nationwide.
This is the third year in a row that a Walnut Ridge student has earned both honors.
"I am from Mauritania, I came to the U.S. two years ago and when I came, I couldn’t speak English well and didn’t understand about American culture, but I knew myself and knew what I would be capable of," said Ndiaye. "I wanted to be able to go to school, get a good education, and make my family and everybody proud. So I had to work hard, study in school everyday, help others with the program and that was it."
Ndiaye’s senior guidance counselor, Gwen Williams Wade, has the distinction of guiding students towards this scholarship during the last three years and she was very excited for Ndiaye.
"He was selected for the Preface Program, which is a national program at Ohio State University for students coming into the engineering program. I don’t know if there were any other Columbus Public School kids chosen for that, the last time I remember anything about Preface it was three years ago. It’s selective, very selective," said Wade.
Principal Tim Carpenter also expressed his pride in Ndiaye’s accomplishments.
"The application process is probably ten times more difficult, so its got to be someone committed to meeting all the deadlines, getting all the paperwork done and having all the credentials. We’re very proud of this young man as well as the prior two young men," said Carpenter.