100 Years, 100 Stories
Queen Wilkes was the inaugural winner of the MLK Chancellor’s Scholarship. This scholarship was established to recognize an MCC student that portrayed leadership potential and community service involvement. The award also was intended to place a special focus on students from under-represented populations. Wilkes was selected as the scholarship winner by the MCC Commission of Equity and Inclusion.
Wilkes said she made a life-changing decision when she was a sophomore at Southwest Early College, which is part of the Kansas City Public School District. She chose to leave high-school and join the Early College program that is housed on the MCC-Penn Valley campus. The Early College Program is available to Kansas City Public School District students and allows students to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously.
Wilkes explained the program that is designed to help a special group of students led to greater opportunities, “I was nervous to leave high school, but my dad told me to look at the big picture.” She was motivated by her counselor, Paula Schaaf, to apply to many colleges and universities and has been accepted to a growing list. Wilkes is also excited about continuing her higher education journey and majoring in public relations and marketing after she graduates from MCC in May of 2015.
Wilkes said she is so glad she chose to attend MCC classes and the College has been a “gateway to opportunity. Community college gives students new opportunities and experiences.”
2015 was the first year the MLK Chancellor’s Scholarship was awarded. MCC plans to make this a long-standing tradition for elite student leaders. The scholarship recipient was celebrated with a luncheon honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the keynote speaker, Kathy Humphrey, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh’s Senior Vice Chancellor & Chief of Staff.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon was designed to give MCC employees time to focus and reflect on Dr. King’s legacy. The vision for this initiative and scholarship was developed by Kathy Walter-Mack, the MCC chief of staff. The event was sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office.