Gates Millenium Scholar named

Published 3:25 pm Monday, April 25, 2011

Gates Millennium Scholar Conya Postell, center, poses for a photo in front of Franklin High School with her mother, Freda Postell, front right, and from left, assistant principal Travis Felts, school test coordinator Beverly Gillette and Conya's brother, Codee Postell. DALE LIESCH/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Conya Postell won’t have to worry about student loans when she starts college next fall.

The Franklin High School senior has been named a Gates Millennium Scholar.

This is the second year in a row for a Franklin senior to receive the scholarship, which will cover the cost of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies. Last year’s recipient, Shaleetta Hicks, is attending University of Richmond.

Conya received her notification on April 19 through the United Postal Service, said Conya’s mother, Freda Postell.

“I usually open her mail, but I didn’t this time,” Freda Postell said.

Instead, she gave the package to her daughter, who was upstairs getting ready for work.

“I couldn’t say anything,” Conya said. “I was at a loss for words.”

Freda Postell shared her daughter’s excitement.

“All I could say was ‘thank God,” Freda Postell said. “We had a little church for a few minutes.”

Conya plans to study pharmacy at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“I want to help discover new medicines to help people,” she said. “I need a challenge.”

Out of 23,000 applicants, Conya was among 1,000 chosen for the honor, which pays tuition and fees throughout a scholar’s time at the university of one’s choice.

“I’m excited for the student,” said Franklin High School Principal Rodney Berry. “I’m still paying my student loans, and for her not to have any debt, is an honor.”

Berry said Conya is a role model at school and has set a high standard for the community.

“She has applied herself at the school, and I’m confident she will do the same at Howard University,” Berry said.

Conya is president of Future Business Leaders of America, treasurer of DECA, senior class secretary and a member of the National Honor Society.

Conya and her brother, Codee, who are 14 months apart, will be leaving at around the same time this summer. Codee will head to U.S. Army.

“I don’t know what Jim (their father) and I are going to do,” Freda Postell said.