W. St. Mary grad lands $10,000 scholarship

Mary Wells: WSM Class of 2018


FOUR CORNERS — As many Teche Area graduates prepare to head to college campuses around the state, West St. Mary High School’s Mary Wells will have a $10,000 head start in beginning her college career at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

Wells is a 2018 recipient of the Horatio Alger State Scholarship.

“It’s a feeling I can’t describe because I’m so excited,” Wells said.  “When I first found out about it I was screaming,”

Wells, who is from Four Corners (in between Baldwin and Jeanerette), was selected among 40,000 candidates for the scholarship nationwide. She said she was one of only 100 who were chosen on the state level.

The scholarship honors those who have committed to education and service to their community despite significant adversity.

“Some of the adversity I overcame was based on my ability to beat the odds,” Wells said.

“I want to be successful because of my parents. They didn’t  have a lot of education and still wanted to provide me a decent life. That motivates me to get out there and do well for myself,” the college freshman said. 

Wells completed her senior year at West St. Mary High School this month by graduating summa cum laude with a 3.933 GPA. She did so while working part time at McDonald’s restaurant in Franklin and being active in several extracurricular activities at school.

“I’ve been actively involved in the National Beta Club, served as parliamentarian for FBLA I’m a former JAG president, vice president of the Junior Class, a member of National Honor Society, a member of the literary rally team, 4-H ,and renaissance club,” Wells said.

Wells is the daughter of Janet Wells and Terry Gibbs Sr. 

She said aside from her parents, her West St. Mary High School family have been her biggest supporters in her scholarship process.

“They were so happy for me,” Wells said. “My English teacher, Theresa Hawkins, my retired business class teacher, Terry Bolden, my principal, Dr. White, and my counselor, Mrs. Martin really supported me,” she said.

“I would say the lesson my WSM supporters taught me was, ‘The future is yours if you want it. You have to be a go-getter and work for what you want and not give up,’ ” Wells said.

The University of Lafayette at Lafayette freshman plans to study nursing and later apply to medical school to become a doctor.

Wells said Horatio wasn’t the only scholarship she applied for. Finalists are in the process of being selected for some of the others for which she applied.

Collectively, the 2018 Horatio Alger State Scholarship recipients have maintained an average GPA of 3.67 while coming from households with an average annual income of $17,998, scholarship coordinators said in a prepared statement.

“In recognition of their resilience, commitment to higher education and support of their local communities, my fellow members and I are proud to support these inspiring students in their tireless pursuit of the American Dream, Matthew Rose, president of the Horatio Alger Association said.

Wells is living in Lafayette and her classes at ULL begin Aug. 20.

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