600+ Houston-area students awarded RodeoHouston scholarships

More than 600 graduating high school seniors will be heading to the Texas college of their choice thanks to RodeoHouston's scholarship program.

600+ Houston-area students awarded RodeoHouston scholarships

HOUSTON — More than 600 graduating high school seniors will be heading to the Texas college of their choice with some extra financial help thanks to scholarship money from the Houston Livestock and Rodeo.

Superstar student Teniola Oyinlona is one of the lucky recipients. She graduated last week with two diplomas -- one from Hightower High School and another from Houston Community College.

"I'm officially graduating with both my high school diploma and my associate's degree," she said.

Oyinlona's parents immigrated from Nigeria and supported her every step of her journey.

"They woke up at the crack of dawn to make sure that I was there (at school), that I was getting good grades," she said.

In the fall, Oyinlona is heading to Texas Women's University where she plans to major in pre-nursing.

This educational trip, though, she'll have an extra layer of support to help her earn her degree.

"I said, 'Oh, my God, we won, we won and I was just, like, so grateful," she said.

She's not the only one getting help.

"We're awarding 644 scholarships," Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Senior Manager of Scholarship Programs Jamie Voscamp said.

Voscamp said each student will get $20,000 to help them cross the collegiate finish line -- that's a total of $12.8 million that will be awarded this summer.

"Applications are judged three times in a blind judging. We remove any sort of identifying information from those applications and then we average that score," Voscamp said.

She said the process ensures the best and most deserving students are chosen from thousands of applicants. This year, 47% of the winners will be first-generation college attendees and 25% are first-generation high school graduates.

"I just want to say thank you to the Houston Livestock (Show) and Rodeo," Oyinlona said.

Voscamp said HLSR also gives each of the scholarship recipients access to a student assistance program called Calm Psych, which allows them to address any mental health needs throughout their career.

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