29 scholarships awarded from MPS Washington High School

MILWAUKEE -- Big bucks given away Friday in one little room at Washington Library. 29 students from Washington High School received a total of $29,000 for college, which is a new record. Not all 29 could attend since many have already started school, but the nine who accepted their checks Friday say, it's the culmination of hard work and dedication. But the ambitious young adults know, the journey is not over yet.

It's a year long process of college applications, essays and interviews.

"A lot of times I didn't want to go to school I didn't want to go to class didn't want to go college," said Keana Berkhalter. "I think I just did what was in my heart.

But through the ups and downs, they stayed motivated. One by one, the scholarship winners introduced themselves, and accepted their checks for the upcoming college semester.

"That's the end goal is that we want to see more high school graduates especially from Milwaukee Public high schools ready to go onto college and succeed," said Joel Cencius, a member of the Washington Alumni Association.

For Berkhalter, her high school journey was one of personal struggles and avoiding peer pressure. But she managed to graduated with a 3.6 G.P.A. She's attending Wabash Community College this fall.

"A thousand and one people can tell you, do this do this, but if you don't feel it if you don't believe it then it doesn't matter," added Berkhalter.

Dakota Caldwell will pursue software engineering and wants to give back to the city of Milwaukee after he graduates college. He's attending Concordia University this fall. 

"I want to open up a few technology centers in Milwaukee to get kids more interested in stem fields rather than every little kid wanting to go play basketball," said Caldwell.

These scholarships were awarded by the Washington High School Alumni Association. It receives money from donors and past graduates over the school year, and that money is used for scholarships and bus trips for high school seniors to visit colleges and universities.