top of page

AMERIE WHITEN (18), recognized with a $750 LACTAI local scholarship award,
came to California from Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic and enrolled in Valencia High
School’s rigorous college prep program with multiple Advanced Placement classes (i.e., AP
Chemistry, AP World History, AP Literature & Comp), graduating with a 3.36 gpa in 2022.
A school counselor described Amerie as “focused, inquisitive, determined, compassionate, and
personable” with “passion for growth,” pointing out that she engaged in “efforts to enrich her
education beyond the classroom experience” and that she is internally motivated to discover
“ways to apply her knowledge beyond test performance, particularly in ways that are creative
and innovative.” While in high school, Amerie participated in volunteer and community-building
activities, including her role as president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority GEMS (a program
focused on developing leadership skills in African-American youth pursuing higher education),
as well as feeding the homeless, donating clothing to shelters for women and children, and
volunteer counseling at summer camp for children. She also “vigorously tackled” 3 courses in
the EST College Access Program while taking an advanced Spanish language course at a
community college, during a summer break. In addition to Amerie’s service through “Leaders of
Tomorrow” and her role as a School Ambassador helping schoolmates acclimate, the EST
Program Director noted Amerie’s commitment to self-improvement and “seriousness of
purpose” exemplified in her diligent participation in tutoring when met with challenges of
certain school subjects.
Of her favorite subject—literature—Amerie is quoted as stating “past writers provide writers
now with notable insight into how they persevered through life’s obstacles, emotions, and
happy times. Writers then compose their own pieces to make their mark in history. The many
perspectives are inspirational to grasp.” The LACTAI Scholarship Committee notes that Amerie’s
remarks about writers may be applied to the inspiring journey of the Tuskegee Airmen (that is,
past Tuskegee Airmen provide us today with notable insight into how they persevered through
life’s obstacles, emotions, and happy times; they composed their own life story to make their
mark in history, and their many perspectives are inspirational).
REGARDING THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, Amerie described them as “refined by the hardships,
adversity, and danger of America” and said, “Their story empowers me to triumph over others’
ways of thinking instead of letting it bind me in a stagnant position in life and strive to make my
own mark to be remembered in time,” and “…the Tuskegee Airmen’s biggest impact on me is
their dedication and determination.”
In reflecting on her experiences as a “military child” whose father was deployed to war when
she was two years old, Amerie recounts challenges unique to military families. Although her
educational path has involved 3 elementary schools, 2 middle schools (including 6 th grade
home-schooling), and 3 high schools, Amerie has managed to glean “assets” and “positive
impacts” along this path. Of her experiences Amerie writes, “My exposure to a variety of diverse
ideas, perspectives, and cultures has molded me into the person I am today” and, “Persevering
through my hindrance has allowed me to evolve and learn a great deal about myself and
receive a lot of wisdom from those who guided me along the way to utilize in the future. I
learned to appreciate my position as a global citizen. I am now ready to naturally apply my
durable, adaptable, versatile, and resilient character traits to my college life.”

In September 2022, Amerie began her journey toward higher education at the American College
of Greece in the Athens suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, in the Attica region (Greek: Περιφέρεια
Αττικής, an administrative region of Greece encompassing the entire metropolitan area of
Athens, the country's capital and largest city). Founded in 1875 by United Church of Christ
American missionaries, the 64-acre campus is the largest private college in Greece, and the
oldest American-accredited college in Europe. Since arriving in Greece to attend this college,
Amerie has written to LACTAI and sent a few snapshots to share a bit of her college adventure.
Go to “My College Journey” to see what Amerie has shared with us!

bottom of page