Cameron Clark and his mom, Tamika

photo: WWJ/Michael Cohen

Hard Work Pays Off: Pontiac Teen Gets Full Ride To Oakland University

June 19, 2018 - 12:29 pm

PONTIAC (WWJ) - A full ride scholarship has been awarded to an Oakland County student, thanks to a new partnership between Oakland University and the Pontiac-based Clarence Phillips Ascend Foundation. 

Eighteen-year-old Cameron Clark, a graduate of Pontiac Academy for Excellence, is the recipient of the scholarship -- which he easily qualified for with a 3.9 grade point average and high SAT score.

Clark says he plans to study computer science. 

"Well, it's mainly something I've been interested in since first or second grade," he said. "I had a computer class and that class always seemed to be the one that came easiest to me."

Clark always knew he would go to college and with the scholarship, he can now fully focus on his studies instead of worrying about how he'll pay for school.

"I would say it's more like a cushion. I would have gone (to college) without it but now that I have it, I don't have to worry about it as much as if I didn't have it," he said. 

Clark's mother Tamika said the scholarship will make an unbelievable difference in helping her son obtain a four-year degree. 

"I was so elated I almost did the holy ghost. I was just so happy inside and very thankful," she said. "He always got good grades, he started reading when he was 2-and-a-half years-old and he's been very focused. He's doing a good job and I'm really proud of him."

Kaino Phillips, CEO of the Ascend Oakland University Unity Scholarship, is the man behind the program. He said the idea was to remove financial barriers for gifted students like Clark.

"We decided to sit down and talk about what we could possibly do to kind of help some kids in a real difficult spot that had everything in place from an academic standpoint and from a testing standpoint," he said. "It was something we wanted to go ahead and do to try and take some excuses off the table on why kids were not going to school. You know, they always use finances as being one of the reasons, so we created this particular program and put it in place."

Clark is one of 13 students to receive a variety of scholarships from the program this year. He's the only student to be awarded a full ride. 

To qualify for the scholarship program, students need a 3.1 GPA and 21 ACT score or 1060 SAT score.