Daniel Ledbetter, a 2015 graduate of Confluence Preparatory Academy, is on his way to college with a scholarship from McDonald’s. Each year, the company partners with UNCF to provide scholarships through its Academic Excellence Awards program.
McDonald’s of St. Louis and the Metro East recognized 24 high school graduates from public and private high schools. The scholarship is intended for African American students who demonstrate academic success, extracurricular involvement and service to the community. It is a one-time award of $3,000. Local owners/operators of McDonald’s restaurants gave $72,000 to this year’s recipients. In a surprise gesture, honorees were also given laptop computers.
Ledbetter is the only student from a public charter high school to receive an award in 2015. He will attend University of Missouri-St. Louis to pursue a double major in music performance and architectural engineering.
In a release to announce the recipients, McDonald’s restaurant owner/operator Jimmy Williams explained the importance of the award.
“McDonald’s is committed to uplifting the communities in which we do business,” he said. “We’ve presented the Academic Excellence Award program for nearly 10 years in partnership with UNCF, and look forward to rewarding and recognizing the scholars who represent some of St. Louis’ best and brightest youth.” Williams is the committee lead for the scholarship award.
To be considered for a scholarship, high school seniors completed an online application with essays and other requirements, as well as personal recommendations. Students also interviewed with a committee. Recipients are required to give back to the community with volunteer service at one of three local organizations: Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center and Boys & Girls Club of St. Louis. The 2015 honorees graduated from public school districts that include Belleville, Collinsville, Ferguson-Florissant, Hazelwood, Ladue, Parkway, Rockwood, Francis-Howell, Webster Groves and St. Louis Public Schools, as well as private schools such as St. Louis University High, Rosati-Kain, Cardinal Ritter, New Life Christian and Trinity Catholic.