Denicieo goes to college
Denicieo Knowles grew up never considering college would be an option for him. Today, he is a George Taylor Scholar pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas. His ultimate goal is to become a certified public accountant.
Knowles, a Government High School (GHS) graduate, would not be enrolled in his freshman year at the institution had it not been for a chance encounter with the school’s president, Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, prior to the close of the academic year.
During a visit to GHS, Smothers met Knowles and said there was something about him that stood out; it resulted in his asking Knowles if he would like to attend Philander Smith College.
Knowles said, “I never knew attending college was an option.”
This from the young man who graduated high school with honors and earned a National High School Diploma. He also served as a prefect and was a member of the student council, as well as captain of the school’s baseball team.
The result of Knowles’ interaction with Smothers was that Knowles was invited to attend the S.T.A.R.T. (Student Tuition Assistance And Readiness Tracks/Pathways) Summer Bridge Urban Scholarship Program at Philander Smith College over the summer. He finished the program with a 3.75 grade point average (GPA).
The Philander Smith College S.T.A.R.T. Summer Bridge Program is a six-week academic enrichment and leadership development program. S.T.A.R.T. provides a seamless transitional opportunity for freshmen to get an early and strong start on their college careers by residing on campus and completing college credits during their summer stint.
The intense experience offers students the opportunity to prepare for the academic, personal and social challenges that they may encounter while in college. In addition to tutoring, study skills training and academic and leadership development workshops, the program provides extensive academic and personal counselling to equip and support participants.
Program benefits include early assessment; mentoring and academic advisement; career and leadership development workshops; and social, spiritual and cultural experiences.
Prior to Smothers stepping up to assist Denicieo, the son of David Knowles, Denise Bowleg and Neketa Knowles had also been the recipient of a $10,700 Reverend Dr. O.A. Pratt Emerging Leader Scholarship Award 2018-2019, which complemented the partial George Taylor Scholarship, a renewable $5,902 per year award that he received from Philander Smith College. The Philander Smith College START Summer Bridge Urban Scholarship entitled him to a four-year $3,500 per year renewable scholarship for tuition and fees.
To renew the scholarships, Knowles has to maintain a cumulative 3.00 GPA, and earn at least 30 semester hours per academic year.
The late Pratt was a graduate of Virginia Union University, where he became a member of Gamma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was the former pastor of the historic St. John’s Native Baptist Cathedral, Meeting Street and was also a charter member of Iota Epsilon Lambda Chapter New Providence.
The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Iota Epsilon Lambda Chapter held its 31st Honours Day Convocation in May under the theme “Work Hard in Silence Let Your Success Make the Noise”, at which Smothers was one of the speakers.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in 1922 established a National Program “Go-to High-School, Go-to-College” designed to concentrate on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement.
Proceeds from the fraternity’s hosting of “Avengers: Infinity War” and its recent steak-out and mini fair went to assist Knowles in his college dreams. The proceeds also assisted other young men who received scholarships from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the 31st Honours Day Convocation.
Dr. Steven A. Rolle, the fraternity’s director of education, said the fraternity awarded $30,000 in scholarships and professional prizes at its 31st Honours Day Convocation. The fraternity’s total commitment to date in scholarship awards is over $500,000.
Funds provided by members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, corporate Bahamas and the general public support various fundraising initiatives from which funds are used to assist with providing Bahamian high school male graduates with scholarships.