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President Ammons Awarded More Than $1.5 Million in Scholarships to Help Make Life a Little Better
President Ammons awarded Lachonda Lacey, a sophomore at South Sumter High School in Bushnell, Fla., a Life-Gets-Better (LGB) Scholarship.  Lacey is in the process of trying to get a patent on a new treatment of a staph infection called MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus).

March 15, 2011

– Life got a little better for some of the State of Florida’s best and brightest students as Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James H. Ammons awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships during its fourth annual President’s Tour: FAMU Up Close and Personal. During his seven-city tour, Ammons visited The Villages, Leesburg, Winter Haven, St. Petersburg, Naples, Ft. Myers and Miami.

Accompanying Ammons on the tour were university recruiters, administrators, student leaders and members of the FAMU Connection, a group of talented students who tell the university’s story through song and dance.

At the Seabreeze Recreation Center in The Villages, Fla., Ammons awarded $168,000 in scholarships to students including two Distinguished Scholarship Awards.

“At FAMU, we are going to put you on a path to the good life,” said Ammons.  “We are here today to recognize and acknowledge you [students].”

In Leesburg, Ammons awarded the first Life-Gets-Better (LGB) Scholarship to Lachonda Lacey, a sophomore at South Sumter High School in Bushnell, Fla.

The LGB scholarship pays for tuition and fees, room and board, books, provides a $500 stipend per semester, a PC notebook, an iPad and a guaranteed summer internship.

Ammons stated that he wanted to be the first to offer Lacey a scholarship.  When asked how does she feel to be offered a scholarship while being a sophomore, Lacey said, “It is so amazing that it is indescribable,” while smiling from ear to ear.

What makes the sophomore so unique is that she is in the process of trying to get a patent on a new treatment of a staph infection called MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), which is an infection that is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.

“My project, the tea tree test, was designed to find a more natural and applicable way to treat staph infections,” said Lacey.

After 48 hours of testing, Lacy stated she measured the area that the remedy killed off the bacteria. After obtaining the results, she shared her results with a scientist she was working with and the scientist was so surprised by the results that she sent the remedy to a corporate lab to test on MRSA, which came back to verify the results.

In his hometown of Winter Haven, Ammons awarded another LGB Scholarship to Stephon Mikell, a senior at International Baccalaureate Bartow High School.  Mikell, who scored a 34 on the ACT and maintains a 4.3 grade point average, was in shock when his name was called as a LGB scholarship recipient.
“When I heard my name, I started to shake,” said Mikell, who plans to major in mathematics. “It is good to know that they [FAMU] cared enough to come.  I didn’t consider FAMU but my mindset has changed. I am still shaking.”

Steeve Pierre-Lewis, a senior at Blanche Ely High in Miami, Fla. and a recipient of the LGB scholarship, expressed his thoughts about being awarded the scholarship.

“FAMU was not on my list before, but now it is,” said Pierre-Lewis, showcasing an award-winning smile.  “This [LGB scholarship] is a great incentive.  Also, another turning point was hearing the student’s perspective.”
At the beginning of the program, Breyon Love, vice president of FAMU’s Student Government Association (SGA) and SGA’s president elect; Kindall Johnson, the 2010-2011 Miss FAMU; Iman Sandifer, a history education student; and Omitope Taylor, a mechanical engineering student who received a LGB in the fall of 2008, shared their FAMU story with the audience.

Following the students’ perspectives, President Ammons shared with the parents, students and alumni, some of FAMU’s accomplishments and why FAMU was traveling the State of Florida.
“Our corporate partners provide the money for these scholarships awarded because they want FAMU talent,” said Ammons.  “Our best scholarship, the Life-Gets-Better Scholarship, is so good that life for the entire family gets better.” 
The following are the scholarship amounts for each city.

The Villages$156,000
Leesburg$  72,000
Winter Haven$ 254,000
St. Petersburg     $ 184,000
Dunbar High School    $   80,000
Gulf Coast High School$   13,000
Naples$   44,000  
Coral Reef High School $ 144,000
Miami    $ 570,000

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