'Million Dollar Tigers' earn more than $65 million in scholarships

April 26th, 2017

WMC Action News 5 | Jerica Philips

Whitehaven High School boasts about being one of the first schools in the nation to host an academic signing day, and Thursday the school broke its
own scholarship record. 

They are known as the Whitehaven 'Million Dollar Tigers' for a reason. Students graduating this year earned more than $65 million for college.
 
The excitement in the room was overwhelming. 

Top scholar Zariah Nolan is headed to Dillard University this fall. She earned more than $9.4 million scholarships.

"Everyone like says, 'Oh you can't do it," Nolan said.

She has a message for the naysayers and credits her single mother for her success.

"You're telling me I can't do it," Nolan said. "Watch me do it."

Former Memphis top cop Toney Armstrong was the guest speaker and shared his story about overcoming adversity.

He said unfortunately kids making bad decisions often get the most attention.

"But when you have kids that have met and exceeded any level of expectations that anyone has of them, you have to take time out and--one: Let them know that you're proud of them. Two: You have to share it," Armstrong said.

More than 40 students announced their plans to attend universities all across the country, many with plans to earn degrees in Memphis.

As scholars shined on stage, Former Whitehaven Tiger, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson applauded parents working behind the scenes investing
in their child's education.

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Mario J. Fortney

Mario Fortney is a Program Director at Whitehaven High School. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he received a Master’s in Business Administration and Business Analytics.

 He has worked with Peer Power since (2004) its inception beginning  as a high school tutor. He earned a full academic scholarship to UT Knoxville.  He has made a very strong commitment to using his talent to positively impact education in Memphis. Mario is a huge proponent of the Peer Power Model and knows it will continue to demonstrate its contributions to students' academic achievement, social and civic growth.

"Peer Power is what is right about Memphis."