I am interrupting my series on my list of proposed legislation for 2022 to report on a recent event I attended. Next week, I will resume the series with a discussion on a Big Tech and Social Media Censorship Act.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending a signing ceremony that in the words of John Hollis, will benefit students for many years to come.
Since 1974, Mr. Hollis has been the driving force behind MERIT (Minority Educational Regional Incentive Training).
Through the MERIT program, Mr. Hollis has helped almost 500 students find the right paths in life that have allowed them to accomplish their dreams and, in turn, contribute greatly to society.
MERIT provides college preparatory opportunities for minority students throughout Sussex County. The MERIT students have gone on to acquire advanced educational degrees.
Among the many notable accomplishments for recent MERIT graduates are these examples:
- A Doctor of Medicine
- A Doctor of Pharmacology from UNC Chapel Hill
- A graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy
The big news on Saturday was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding agreement between the MERIT program and Delaware State University (DSU).
Mr. Hollis said the agreement will allow MERIT students to take part in summer instructional activities at DSU, and will give students and their parents one-on-one assistance in applying for admission and financial aid opportunities, including grants.
The following news release was taken from the DSU website:
Del State signs agreement with Sussex County’s MERIT
As the result of a new partnership one of the state’s most successful post-secondary prep programs, Delaware State University can expect to enroll more students from Sussex County into its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines.
Delaware State University and the Minority Engineering Regional Incentive Training (MERIT) organization have signed an agreement that positions the University to better serve the educational needs of high school students who are part of that program.
The accord was signed on Sept. 11 at the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club in Seaford, witnessed among others by MERIT's Nika Reid, '94; Yolanda Yarborough Hudson, '82; Dara Laws Savage, '88; Jere Hudson, '14; and Otelia Oliver, '66, DSU alums.
John Hollis, the Executive Director of MERIT and Nika Reid, MERIT Operational Director, signed the agreement along with Del State’s Dr. Darren Blackston, Director of DSU@Georgetown and the Kareem McLemore, Executive Director of Admissions.
Under the agreement, the University will provide MERIT students with information about STEM areas of study, pre-enrollment counseling, financial aid and admissions services, as well as mentors utilizing the University faculty, staff and students. The MERIT organization will facilitate their students connect to Del State services and mentors.
Mr. Blackston called the new agreement a tremendous opportunity for Delaware State University and MERIT, and noted that MERIT students are some of the best in Delaware.
“Our mission is to serve you, so you can serve the world,” Dr. Darren Blackston, told the 30 MERIT youths who attended the ceremony. “We want to be a part of your vision, your growth and your future. We want to make sure that you have the resources to be successful.”
Kareem McLemore, the University’s Executive Director of Admissions, told the youths a story of a student who turned down a full scholarship to the University of Berkley in California to come to Del State.
“If someone can find worth in DSU from across the map, you certainly can find it coming up the highway in the state,” Mr. McLemore said.
Mr. Hollis said the agreement will help not only today’s students, but students for generations to come. He said our efforts sometimes are equivalent to planting a shade tree you will not sit under.
Through the agreement signed on Saturday, students for years to come will enjoy the benefits of the close ties to DSU.