North High valedictorian proves hard work does pay off

University of Minnesota freshman Ambreasha Frazier provides the perfect example that hard work does pay off.
University of Minnesota freshman Ambreasha Frazier provides the perfect example that hard work does pay off.

Frazier graduated this spring as the valedictorian of the 2006 Minneapolis North High School class. She graduated with a straight A average and earned entrance into the National Honor Society. But Frazier was far from just a bookworm. She was the President of the Senior Class, a member of the Student Council and a member of the North High doubles tennis team that won the City Championship. She also won two President's Awards for Educational Excellence and received an All City Academic Award. Her accomplishments earned her national publicity as she was recently featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the top African American high school seniors in the country.

With such an impressive academic and extracurricular activities background, Frazier was sought after by many top universities in the country, but she chose to attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

"Other universities offered scholarships and loans, but the U offered a full financial package," Frazier said.
"I like the U because it's not too far from home and it's part of the city and not isolated."

The U offered Frazier the McGuire Scholarship, the Founder's Opportunity Scholarship and the Iron Range Scholarship. Frazier has also already landed a part-time job as an administrative assistant. The three scholarships and employment cover Frazier's tuition and expenses for her four years at the U as long as she maintains good grades.

Given her record in high school, maintaining good grades will not be a problem for Frazier. She credits her academic success to self-motivation and support from family and friends. Frazier's mother, Crystal Johnson, has instilled in her at a young age the importance of education and striving for the best.

"She pushes herself harder than we push her," Johnson said. "She has overachieved beyond my expectations and I have high expectations for her."

"A good foundation in the family is the difference," Frazier said. "I am a self-motivated person and I just stay focused and achieve my goals. What helps me stay focused is that I surround myself with positive friends who are always there when you need them. Real friends help throughout the ups and downs of high school."

Frazier provides the perfect example that you don't have to come from affluent private or suburban high schools to achieve success and win full scholarships for college. She is well aware that, in light of the mainstream media's coverage of recent murders on the Northside, there are negative and stereotypical portrayals of young people in her community. Frazier acknowledges that North High School is rough around the edges, but she wants people outside of her community to know that there are students there who try just as hard as any high school kids to achieve their college dreams.

"A lot of people don't see that there are outstanding students in the Northside community," Frazier said. "Ten of my best friends are all high achievers going to college on scholarships. We are high achievers in spite of our surroundings."

Frazier feels a responsibility to serve as a role model for her younger brother and two sisters and other Northside youngsters. She wants them to know that there are college scholarships out there for them. The U of M, Minneapolis Community and Technical College and St. Paul College all guarantee four-year free tuition for students who have good grades and meet financial criteria. But these scholarships won't be available if the students don't work hard in school and achieve good grades.

"My advice is to take your education very seriously," Frazier said. "It is im

October 6, 2006
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