WHHS Senior Awarded Full Rides to Historically Black Universities

Lydia Abraham is on her way to a culturally enriched curriculum where she will experience education that she would not be able to receive at a regular university.

Lydia Abraham smiling after being awarded her full scholarships.


WHHS senior Lydia Abraham won two full scholarships to Delaware State University and Allen University in South Carolina., which are among the country’s Historically Black College and Universities.

Abraham was awarded the full scholarships while attending the New York HBCU fair in October.  Math teacher Yvonne Daniels and English teacher Melanie Deninger organized the trip to New York for students interested in attending HBCUs.

HBCUs were founded for African Americans in the 19th century, a time when it was impossible for them to get a true education.

Abraham credits her two full scholarships to her being the president of the Girl Up Club, taking honors and AP classes and maintaining a 4.6 weighted GPA.

Upon receiving her scholarships she immediately called her parents to tell them the exciting news. They were proud and exhilarated.

“We were all hoping for the best, but you never know what will happen,” she said.

Seven other students also had an exciting day at the HBCU fair.  Mufee Cooper, Diamond Dixon, Dynastee Francis, Natalia Frazer, Dakari Grant, Rua Osman and Quannel Straughter  all received on-site acceptances to various HBCUs.

“This day was magical, to say the least,” Ms. Daniels said. “Some students came along for the ride, with no plans on attending college and were encouraged to apply…I was glad to be there to witness greatness.”

When a student attends an HBCU they do not get the same education they would at a regular college. The curriculum is culturally enriched and is geared more towards African studies.  

As an African-American student at a public high school or college, your math class and history classes are often structured around historically white-American culture. When you are in a math class at an HBCU your class is structured around statistics that affect your community or in history you learn more than just slavery.

“When you’re in a regular high school your GPA comes from the classes that you were in, so if I study at West Haven High, I’m never going to get African-American studies …so my history GPA is going to be lower because my interest is lower,” Ms. Daniels said.

Because of this lack of interest amongst many African-American youth, HBCUs look at other factors besides their applicants’ GPAs because they understand that interest level changes how a person learns.

Students who attend the annual HBCU trip offered from West Haven High school are given an opportunity to explore different HBCUs and talk to students who have or want to attend them.

At this college fair, Abraham was able to meet students from other schools. She was able to connect with these possible future classmates.

“To think that I can go to school with a lot of those kids was really exciting because they were very genuine…hard-working students,” Abraham said.