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Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier made a surprise visit to Bellaire High School on Wednesday to present a dedicated and hardworking graduating senior with a $10,000 college scholarship.
The award was given to Alisa Hamilton, who was selected by Dr. Grier because of her drive to succeed academically and be involved on campus despite significant personal challenges. Hamilton, who is homeless, does not live with her parents and has worked two part-time jobs to make ends meet. She has done all of this while maintaining good grades and participating in Bellaire’s DECA business club.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Hamilton said. “I don’t have to stress about how I’m going to pay for college. The scholarships I’ve received will help a lot. I can focus on school instead of money.”
The student scholarship was given to Dr. Grier to present to a deserving HISD student as part of the Council of the Great City Schools’ Green-Garner Award, which he received in October upon being named as the organization’s Urban Educator of the Year.
Dr. Grier decided to surprise Hamilton with the scholarship after hearing about her dedication to school and academic success in spite of her personal struggles.
“She understands the realities of the world, and she does not let that hold her back,” Dr. Grier said. “She knows she has to come to school and make good grades, so I’m honored to recognize her for her perseverance and hard work.”
Hamilton plans to attend East Texas Baptist University, where she’ll study math with an ultimate goal of becoming a forensic accountant. In addition to the scholarship she received from Dr. Grier, Hamilton is a recipient of the 2015 Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds Scholarship that rewards extraordinary high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence.