Grambling student wins Beyoncé scholarship

Published: Jul. 23, 2018 at 5:56 PM CDT
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A Grambling student is getting help with his tuition thanks to Beyoncé. Cletus Emokpae received $25,000 from Beyoncé's Homecoming Scholar Award.

"I was in a place that I was like, 'Listen, I need help and somebody needs to come and help me,'" said Emokpae.

Cletus Emokpae says he needed money to pay for school. He's a graduate student at Grambling.

"If you don't go to an institution that has a large endowment, how do you pay for your higher education."

So that's why he applied to the Beyoncé's Homecoming Scholars Award and this morning he got the call.”

"I woke up actually to have a phone meeting with Mr. Hackley on something completely different and a couple minutes later he was like 'Hey, by the way, you got the scholarship,'" Emokpae said.

Emokpae was picked to receive at $25,000 scholarship through Beyoncé's Beygood Foundation and their partnership with Google.

He says this scholarship feels like the light at the end of the tunnel.

"And then I just started crying,” said Emokpae. “I haven't cried in over a decade.

Emokpae has raised money to giveaway scholarships in his hometown Buffalo, New York. He's also a very active on campus and an honor student. President Rick Gallot says Emokpae really deserves this.

"He's just one of those that exemplifies not only commitment to academics, but also to learning the practical aspects of his education," said Gallot.

The scholarship was also awarded to seven other students at other historically black colleges and universities or HBCU's.

Emokpae says it's a good thing that HBCU's are getting recognized.

"These college students at these HBCU's are doing amazing work. I think that's because we're not at a large PWI or a large institution that has a lot of funding or have all the resources, it tends to get looked over. I think this was big because it showcases that there is talent at HBCU's," Emokpae said.

And his work and talent have literally paid off.

"Wow, I was just thankful,” said Emokpae. “It was another thing that I don't have to worry about. It was the first time I felt like I really was recognized for something I've done."

Emokpae says he plans to graduate in May next year. He then wants to further his education even more by getting his Ph.D. or his JD.