A record number of Boston Public Schools seniors -- more than 1,000 members of the Class of 2008 -- are eligible for free tuition at any public college in Massachusetts because of their performance on the MCAS exams. The students all qualified for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, sponsored by the Department of Education and Board of Higher Education. The number of BPS students qualifying has increased steadily since the awards were first given, from 724 scholars in 2005 to 1,036 this year -- nearly 1 in 4 seniors. To qualify for the scholarship, students had to score in the Advanced category (Level 4) on either the English Language Arts or Math sections of the MCAS exams and in at least Proficient (Level 3) on the other. Also, the students’ scores had to rank in the top 25% of the district.
Pictured here is Adams Scholar Abdoul Diallo, a senior at Boston International High School. Abdoul immigrated to the U.S. from Burkina Faso in Western Africa in 2004 to live with his two sisters, who had come to this country several years earlier, in order to get a strong education. A resident of Dorchester, Abdoul has emerged as a leader and a scholar during his three years at BIHS. He has been an Honors student, Class President, and an All-Star soccer player (this year, his team advanced to the State quarter-finals). Abdoul has the highest grade point average in his class (3.8). On the Grade 10 MCAS exams, which he took just six months after arriving in America, he scored Proficient in English and Advanced in Math. Abdoul has applied to many colleges in the Boston area and out of state and is considering studying Marine Biology. Abdoul also performs a great deal of community service in other states and countries. He participated in a Katrina recovery mission to Biloxi, Mississippi, and New Orleans. He helped build a playground for an orphanage in St. Croix and housing through Habitat for Humanity in Honduras.