SOUTH PLAINFIELD - South Plainfield High School senior Gianna Glover has received the Amistad Commission’s Rising Scholars Recognition Award. Glover was honored during a virtual recognition ceremony on Nov. 15. The goal of the Amistad Commission is to ensure that New Jersey schools recognize the integral part African-Americans have played in United States history.  

“The Amistad Commission connects high school seniors in good standing with their grades to Historically Black College or University (HBCU)s,” said Glover. “Their mission is to incorporate black history into social studies’ classes and put it in the curriculum. This award makes me feel accomplished and ready to go on to something bigger than high school.”

Students interested in attending any Historically Black College or University (HBCU) were eligible to apply if they met the required criteria. Up to 75 high school seniors from the state of New Jersey were considered for the recognition. Nominees were selected by a committee of staff from the Amistad Commission, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), and the Malcolm Bernard HBCU College Fair of New Jersey.  

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The students were evaluated on merit, academic and personal goals, school activities, community service, and a personal statement. Other significant information taken into consideration was their desire to become future educators and status as first-generation college attendees. 

A passion for helping others, Glover has her heart set on a career in nursing.

“I’ve always had an instinct to help others, all of my life, but I’ve learned through this pandemic that it’s going to take a lot of determination and courage,” Glover said. “It’s like the firefighter analogy, when people are running out of the situation, I’m going to be running right into it, and that’s something I want to do, to help other people and to make a difference.”

“Gianna has always been nurturing,” said Chere Glover. “When she was in Roosevelt, they would do a character counts awards, and she used to get the caring award every time. She was the one who was there for the kids with special needs. She would keep them engaged and involved in the group. She’s always been the one to help the students who didn’t have a voice.”

Several years ago, Glover had the opportunity to learn firsthand at a 2 ½ week precollege nursing program at Adelphia University.  The experience gave her even more incentive to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. 

“The program was an introduction to nursing as a profession, and they spanned the lifecycle of nursing,” said Chere Glover.  “It was birth to death and everything in between. I remember the first time we saw her after it was over, she thanked us for sending her there and said, ‘Now I definitely want to be a nurse!’ They showed them the good, the bad and the ugly of what it could be, and she wanted to do it more than ever.”

Since nursing is such a competitive field, Gianna has applied early to several colleges. She has been accepted to many with scholarship offerings. She’s waiting to hear back from others. 

“I am really happy for her,” said Chere Glover.  “As a parent, we raise our kids not necessarily to please us, but to have the intrinsic value of wanting to do well for themselves. I see her hard work paying off. When these acceptance letters came in the mail, I told her 'what a blessing, not only do they want you, they want to give you money.'” 

There are two different ways to enter a nursing program in college. The first is direct entry into the nursing program as a college freshman. The other way is by being accepted through general admission into the school, and then applying to the college’s School of Nursing by sophomore or junior year of college.  HBCU schools do not have direct entry. Gianna had the opportunity to speak with HBCU about this.

“I was able to express to the admission counselors that there are lots of people from this area where HBCU’s don’t become an option for them because it’s easier to apply and be accepted as a senior in high school, then to have to reapply two years into college,” said Gianna Glover. “It was a great learning opportunity too. I could advocate for others, which is something I’m all about."

Winners of the Amistad Commission’s Rising Scholars Recognition Award were given an award certificate, a comprehensive guide of available HBCU scholarships, and the opportunity to meet with college recruiters participating in an online college fair, the Malcolm Bernard HBCU College Fair Week. They also gained eligibility to receive onsite admission to selected institutions and their application fees were waived, and they became eligible for consideration for an HBCU Rising Scholar Fund Scholarship.

“I’m proud of her, her dad is proud of her, the whole family is proud of her!” Chere Glover said.

"This award has given me the opportunity to see students from around the state and learn about their activities and interests, and we could celebrate each other,” Gianna Glover said. "I feel honored and very excited about the future."