The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia hosted the 7th Annual Free College Scholarship Fair, giving college students $40M worth of scholarships.
Infinite Scholars and The Leadership Team USA (TLTUSA) led and co-sponsored the activity, CW69 Atlanta reported.
'Once-in-A-lifetime Type Thing'
Roman Phifer, who dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer, called the event a rare opportunity and thanked the organizers for the chance to become part of it.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime type thing. You don't see this every day, and I'm very grateful for this," CW69 Atlanta quoted Phifer saying.
Phifer went to the fair with Taylor Cason, who wishes to pursue veterinary studies and attend West Virginia State University (WVSU) with Phifer this fall, 2013.
Cason and Phifer got a $4,500 yearly scholarship for the next four years. They were among the thousands of students fortunate to get a college scholarship from sponsors.
According to the report, at least 55 universities and colleges joined the annual fair and have handed scholarships to many students, some of whom got over $100,000 each.
According to Tanesha Weaver, the director of admissions at WVSU, her role in the event was a way of giving back.
"This is the most exciting part of my job. I'm the Director of Admissions for West Virginia State, and to be able to give back what I was given one day is absolutely amazing," she said.
Organizers revealed that this year's turnout surpassed the usual yearly number of attendees. They disclosed that they usually serve around 2,000 students annually, a number they broke only on the second day of the fair.
Dr. Jamal Bryant, the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, expressed his joy with the event's results.
"It is absolutely awe-inspiring. Thousands of young people have converged onto our campus. Many of them will be the very first in their family to have an opportunity and access to higher education," Bryant explained.
Hope Amid Crisis
The report noted how the event came in the middle of the country's looming crisis involving loan debts by countless students.
"What we've been able to do is to take all that, that's in front of them, and give them a straight path to being able to go to college for free and debt free," The Leadership Team USA founder and president Pastor Courtney L. Dillard said.
The news outlet mentioned that students who participated in the annual scholarship fair brought their resume, test scores, unofficial transcript of records, and a short essay explaining their aim in entering college.
About the Event Sponsors
According to their website, The Leadership Team USA is a "Christian-based leadership mentoring organization." The organization is a 501 c3 entity based in Atlanta, Ga.
TLTUSA seeks to "uplift and sustain the health of the community." The organization also aims to "help people of all ages find their purpose and their true potential."
Meanwhile, Infinite Scholars seeks to "provide all deserving students, especially financially-disadvantaged students and students of diversity, the guidance and access to financial resources" they require to pursue their desired courses in college.