BHS student surprised with full-ride scholarship

Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Last Friday morning Mercer University representatives surprised Bainbridge High School senior Sydnee Burke with a gift that would impact her academic endeavors for years to come.

Dr. April Aldridge, a fellow MU grad, had asked Burke, along with a few of her classmates and friends to come to the atrium for an interview with a local news station in order to surprise her. Unbeknownst to Burke, she was being presented the Bessie Willingham Tift Scholarship.

Burke was in complete shock when her parents arrived and they all learned together she was the one young woman who received this yearly scholarship. The scholarship is a full ride to Mercer and covers tuition, room and board.

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Burke had to attend an interview in order to be considered for the scholarship. Current Tift scholars and alumni interviewed her and scored her on the interview, extra curricular activities, GPA and ACT scores.

Burke said it has always been a dream of hers to go to Mercer since she was in middle school and realized she wanted to be a doctor.

“This scholarship means everything to me,” she said. “Mercer is obviously a very expensive school and I didn’t know if my parents would be able to afford it, if I didn’t get the scholarship.”

Burke believes there were approximately 100 other girls who went through the interview process, which she said definitely made her a little nervous, but the good kind of nervous.

She knew going into the interview it would be different from anything she had done before, but she thought it helped her prepare for what is to come and job interviews in the future.

“It was good for me to have that kind of pressure and have to endure it,” she said.

Burke hopes to go into the field of dermatology, but after talking to several local doctors, she said she has learned one truly never knows what they want their specialization to be until they get to try them all.

Burke said she is truly so excited and blessed for this opportunity and cannot wait to further her education at Mercer University. She is thankful to Dr. Aldridge and everyone who helped make this surprise of a lifetime possible.