Madison Carmouche-Soward ($20,000)
“The most important thing about her to me is how she cares about other people.”
— Millicent Carmouche, Madison’s mother
Carmouche-Soward had just finished a book bank drive in which she raised money and bought books and supplies to fill 50 backpacks for elementary school students when she heard about the Rose Scholars program on the radio.
Her community service — the center of her application essay — exceeded her NBA knowledge.
“As a kid, I thought the NBA was called ‘ShaqKobe’ because we lived in California and we were big Lakers fans,” she said, laughing.
Her mother said Carmouche-Soward would scream “ShaqKobe” at the TV as a toddler no matter what NBA game played. Still, a love for sports and service bloomed.
She played basketball — “I wasn’t very good,” Carmouche-Soward said — soccer and gymnastics. She volunteered at elementary schools and retirement communities and on political campaigns. According to her mother, Carmouche-Soward already has logged 1,000 hours of community service.
A competitive gymnast, she combined the two passions at age 12 when she’d volunteer to coach toddlers every Saturday morning.
“My daughter is really active in sports and has a 4.0 GPA,” her mother, Millicent Carmouche, said. “But the most important thing about her to me is how she cares about other people and how she reaches out to her community without even being asked. She has a big heart. I love how this scholarship encompasses the whole person.”
Now on the competitive cheer team, she got surprised by her school principal at Bob Jones High School’s final football game with news of her stipend. She already has been accepted into three schools and is awaiting word from her first choice, Spelman College in Atlanta.
She is leaning toward majoring in international studies with a minor in Spanish and considering law school after her undergraduate studies.
“A lot of the times when you feel like things aren’t going your way and you want to give up, you don’t,” Carmouche-Soward said. “Derrick’s a great example of that. It’s just a really big blessing to pay honor to what this scholarship means.”