MPS, Morehouse partnership nets $800,000 in scholarships, sends largest-ever group of Wis. students to Dr. King’s alma mater

MILWAUKEE – A new partnership between Milwaukee Public Schools and Morehouse College announced Tuesday has netted $800,000 in scholarships and is sending the largest-ever group of Wisconsin students to the all-male alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Seven Milwaukee Public Schools students signed scholarship offers Tuesday morning worth $25,000 per student per school year at 10 a.m. Tuesday at MPS’ Rufus King International School. Three additional Wisconsin students whose scholarships were made possible by the MPS partnership also signed scholarship offers. (Click here for a photo gallery.)

The generous donors sponsoring the students – including Ildy and Skip Poliner; BMO Harris Bank; the Hans Helmerich Foundation; Charles and Cheryl Harvey; the Johnson Controls Foundation; Dale E. Jones, a trustee of Northwestern Mutual; Mr. and Mrs. Ulice Payne; United Negro College Fund; Scott Voynich; and the Wisconsin Energy Foundation – were also honored at the event.

The new MPS, Morehouse partnership is sending these ten students -- seven from MPS and three from other Wisconsin schools -- to the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with $800,000 in scholarships

The new MPS, Morehouse partnership is sending these ten students -- seven from MPS and three from other Wisconsin schools -- to the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with $800,000 in scholarships

The MPS students who won the academic scholarships are: Jaylin Durham, MPS’ Rufus King; Onteria Harris, MPS’ Pulaski High School; Devon Kidd, MPS’ Rufus King; Trequan Martin, MPS’ Washington High School of Information Technology; DeAndre Matthews, MPS’ Bradley Tech High School; Nicholas Stokes, MPS’ Rufus King; and Justin Wilks, MPS’ James Madison Academic Campus.

MPS’ partnership with Morehouse also generated benefits for students from schools around Wisconsin. Additional scholarship recipients include: Aaron Blake, Madison LaFollette High School; Antoine Easterling, Mequon Homestead High School; and Zachary George, Shorewood High School.

Many of the students utilized MPS’ new College Access Center, 2730 W. Fond du Lac Avenue, for assistance on their college applications.

“We’re creating a pathway for student success that runs through our schools and one of the nation’s most renowned institutions of higher education,” MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton said. “It’s an honor to partner with Morehouse.”

“Milwaukee Public Schools has demonstrated its commitment to preparing boys of color for higher educational opportunities – and for providing access to institutions that will expand their horizons academically, socially and culturally,” Morehouse President Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin said. “This partnership allows Morehouse to fulfill that goal through a rigorous academic curriculum, coupled with co-curricular experiences that shape students for a successful career and a lifetime of leadership and service.”

Dr. Thornton and Dr. Franklin thanked the sponsors and noted that the effort would not have been possible without the help of John Daniels, chairman, Quarles & Brady, LLP, who facilitated Morehouse’s introduction to Milwaukee’s corporate and philanthropic community; and Mr. and Mrs. Hank Aaron.

Morehouse College is the nation’s largest private liberal arts college for men. The school was recently recognized as the number one liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; one of 45 “Best Buy” schools for 2011 by the Fiske Guide to Colleges; one of the nation’s ‘Most Grueling Colleges’ in 2010 by the Huffington Post; the number three historically black college/university in 2011 by U.S. News and World Report; and as one of America’s Best Colleges for three consecutive years according to Forbes magazine. Prominent alumni include the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in 175 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. During the 2011-12 school year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate that was 17 points higher than the 1999-00 rate, growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years and growing ACT scores. Nearly 2,000 of the district’s 2010 graduates enrolled in post-secondary education, including 1,178 African-American graduates.