9 city students win full rides to UM

In March, Jennifer Covahey sat in her guidance counselor's office at Southern High School and sobbed uncontrollably after finding out she had won a college scholarship.

But after years of crying from witnessing her parents battle drug and alcohol addictions, these tears were different - life had suddenly turned sweet.


Last night, the good news became official. At the fourth annual Baltimore Incentive Awards dinner, Covahey was among the nine recent Baltimore high school graduates honored with full scholarships to attend the University of Maryland, College Park for four years. The scholarships are worth nearly $19,000 a year.

The program chooses students who have shown remarkable ability to thrive despite being faced with overwhelming adversity, and was started in hope of creating a bridge between Baltimore public schools and the University of Maryland, College Park, said Jacqueline Wheeler, director of the scholarship program.


The program is "important because the university really doesn't have a connection with Baltimore public schools," Wheeler said.

For Covahey, who just turned 18, the chance to receive a college education has long been a dream.

In 2001, she decided to move away from her parents and live with her grandfather and aunt. She said she had been frustrated for years when her parents left her and her siblings at home while they went to bars.

Her daily routine included leaving school at 3:30 p.m. to come home, change clothes and head to her job as a cashier at Forever 21 clothing store.

Mallory Watkins, another incentive award recipient, graduated Sunday from Southwestern High School.

Throughout high school, Watkins said, sports served as his outlet.

"But as much as I like sports, it was my grandmother who pushed me and told me not to be discouraged," he said.

Scholarship winners


Here are the nine students who received Baltimore Incentive Awards and four-year scholarships to the University of Maryland, College Park:

Bridget Blount - Western.

Olivia Coates - City College.

Jennifer Covahey - Southern.

Anna Kalmykov - Polytechnic Institute.

Shiron Lindsay - Polytechnic Institute.


John Sanders - Northwestern.

George Small - Northwestern.

Darian Scott-Carter - Dunbar.

Mallory Watkins - Southwestern.

Westside and W.E.B. Dubois also participate in the program, but no graduates won the award this year.