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U. S. Steel Scholars Award Presented to Emerson School of the Visual and Performing Arts Senior Desmond L. Jennings



Desmond L. Jennings, 17, a senior at the Emerson School of Visual and Performing Arts in Gary, Ind., was presented today with the U. S. Steel Scholars award, an annual scholarship given by the United States Steel Foundation. The award grants Jennings $20,000 over four years to help pay for his college tuition.

Established by the Foundation in 1991, the U. S. Steel Scholars program recognizes and promotes academic achievement among students from high schools in four U. S. Steel plant communities: Clairton, Pa.; Fairfield, Ala.; Gary, Ind.; and Mt. Iron and Virginia, Minn. The program is conducted in cooperation with each local school district.

At a special student assembly today at Emerson, Jennings was announced as the recipient and presented with the award. School district officials, representatives of U. S. Steel and previous U. S. Steel Scholars attended the assembly in addition to Jennings' mother and stepfather, Raven and Tommy Cox; his grandmothers, Idell Jennings and Ann Powell; and his great-grandmother, Ruth Powell.

At Emerson, Jennings serves as president of the National Honor Society, and is a member of the Thespian Society. He currently serves as a production manager for the school's children's theater program. During his sophomore and junior years, Jennings served as the program's stage manager and received the "Best Stage Manager" award for his work during those years.

In the fall of 2003, Jennings will begin his college career at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., where he will pursue a dual major in Meteorology and French. He plans on attending graduate school to continue his study of meteorology to achieve his career goal of becoming a synoptic meteorologist, specializing in television forecasting and severe weather phenomena.

Outside of school, Jennings volunteers at the food program for the Peter's Rock Methodist Baptist Church where he helps serves food to the needy. He also works part-time at the AMC Theatre at Southlake Mall in Merrillville.

Jennings ranks second in his class of 64, and Emerson Principal Noah Riley attributes his academic success to the "smart work, discipline and dedication he shows as a student." Mr. Riley adds, "Desmond Jennings stands out at Emerson both as a student and as a role model for his peers, and is most deserving of this honor from U. S. Steel. We at Emerson are very proud of Desmond. He will go far in life."

Gary Works General Manager George Babcoke said, "U. S. Steel Scholars excel in school and stand out in their communities. They take as much pride in achieving academic excellence as they do in helping other citizens through their work in the community. It is my pleasure to present this award on behalf of U. S. Steel to the 2002 U. S. Steel Scholar, Desmond Jennings."

The Gary Community School Corporation selects U. S. Steel Scholars based on academic performance and financial need. The scholarship recipient receives financial assistance of up to $5,000 a year for tuition, room and board. As part of the program, Jennings is expected to return to his high school at least once each year during his scholarship to address students at Emerson on the importance of academic achievement.

Previous U. S. Steel Scholars from Gary area high schools are: Ava Johnson, 1992, West Side High School; Denika Kimbrough, 1993, Horace Mann High School; Anthony White, 1994, William Wirt High School; L'Netta Dawn Moss, 1995, Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts; Jesse Flores, 1996, William Wirt High School; Lee Cunningham, 1997, Roosevelt High School; Walter Conwell, 1998, Lew Wallace High School; Dawn Yerger, 1999, Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts; Audrey Whittaker, 2000, Horace Mann High School; and Ilisha Dowell, 2001, West Side High School.


SOURCE: United States Steel Corporation

CONTACT: Carlee Vargo, +1-412-433-6777 or John Armstrong,
+1-412-433-6792, both of United States Steel Corporation

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