Upward Bound at Salem University in WV would like to recognize and honor one of our exceptional seniors, Destiny Lusk. Out of the 106 candidates that were selectively chosen at the national level, Destiny is the only recipient in West Virginia to receive the highly competitive 2019 National Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. Scholarship of $25,000. This scholarship is awarded to “deserving young people who have demonstrated integrity, determination in overcoming adversity, academic potential, and the personal aspiration to make a unique contribution to society.”
Destiny, a senior at Liberty High School, has been enthusiastically involved with show choir, the theater program, various school committees and clubs, student council as the student body president, several different academic-based bowls and competitions, American Legion Auxiliary’s Girl State, athletics, and a myriad of community service activities and clubs. Destiny has built herself an incredible, extensive resume of extracurricular activities, honors, awards, recognitions, and leadership positions throughout her high school career. While maintaining such a busy schedule, she is still able to be an active participant of Upward Bound since her sophomore year and takes advantage of all the opportunities that we provide her: tutoring, college visits, college prep summer sessions, student leadership conferences, ACT/SAT registration, After School Sessions, and much more!
While most know of Destiny as the warm, wholesome, and positive individual that can light up any room with her smile, most people do not know of the adversities that she had to cope with and overcome at a young age such as experiencing homelessness and witnessing drug abuse. Nonetheless, Destiny does not want her hardships to make her another statistic or label her but to inspire others. Due to her determination to improve and Upward Bound, she is planning to attend college next year as the first person in her family to do so. However, like most first-generation students, Destiny frets about the financial costs of college, but with this scholarship, she can now worry less. Not only does Horatio Alger Association offer her a $25,000 scholarship, they additionally will provide her with college readiness tools, financial aid and scholarship counseling, internship opportunities, support and referral services, accessibility to network with former and current Horatio Alger scholars, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2019 Horatio Alger National Scholars Conference in Washington, D.C.
Destiny reflected on being selected nationally as such a huge achievement but believed initially that she would have never been selected. She discussed how her Upward Bound Program Counselor, Owen, handed her the scholarship and constantly encouraged her to apply. Her response was “It’s a national scholarship, what were my chances, right? I know I have had a really rough life, but I was going up against tens of thousands of kids with lives very similar to mine. Owen just kept after me and kept telling me to give it a shot, and so, I did!” Destiny knew she could seek encouragement and assistance no matter what time or day from her program counselor throughout the scholarship process with editing and advice as she felt wholeheartedly her program counselor believed in her. We are immensely proud of Destiny!!