Pioneer Charter School of Science (PCSS) senior Odinaka Oranewku, 17, of Lynn has won a prestigious Posse Scholarship, an award that recognizes high school students from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate exceptional leadership and academic potential.
Odinaka was one of only 60 students the Posse Foundation selected from the Boston area’s more than 1,400 applicants. She will attend Bryn Mawr College on a full-tuition, four-year scholarship as a “Posse Scholar” where she’ll join her “posse” of 10 other scholarship recipients from across the country.
“This scholarship is such a generous opportunity that I am blessed to have attained,” she said. “I know the support system and network I am going to a part of for the next four years will enrich my educational experience as well as my professional career.”
Currently serving as vice president of her student body, Odinaka already has her path mapped out, planning to study chemistry in college and then pursue a doctorate in pharmacy. An avid basketball and volleyball player, she also spends her free time volunteering at Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in Boston.
“Odinaka’s always been a bright light here at Pioneer. She’s a natural, goal-oriented leader who we know will achieve great things,” said Sanela Jonuz, executive director of PCSS. “The Posse Foundation understands that true leadership comes in many forms and from many backgrounds. Their unique selection process brings opportunities to many students who may have been overlooked in more traditional college selection processes.”
The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains non-traditional students from urban communities with extraordinary academic and leadership skills and places them in top institutions of higher education, where they attend tuition–free. These students were recruited and trained to better represent the voices of all Americans and become leaders needed in every field. Since 1989, the Posse Foundation has awarded $806 million to more than 6,000 students across the country.
“We are so excited about this newest class of Posse Scholars who are extraordinarily talented, smart, and driven,” says Deborah Bial, the president and founder of The Posse Foundation. “And we are proud to partner with more than 50 top colleges and universities who are at the forefront in thinking about diversity, leadership and excellence in higher education.”
With schools in Everett (PCSS I) and Saugus (PCSS II), Pioneer Charter School of Science offers a rigorous academic curriculum emphasizing math, science, and analytical thinking skills balanced by a strong foundation in the humanities. The school offers extended days/hours and career-oriented college preparation. Students must pass five math and five science classes in order to graduate – more than state standards, and students must complete 40 hours of community service. The school has a 200-day school calendar, extended days, after school tutoring and “voluntary” Saturday classes for students who need extra help.