Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) are known throughout the United States for their deep-rooted traditions and legacies.
For Princesse Hawkins, a health science major, and her brother Shelton Hawkins, a mechanical engineering major, attending Tennessee State University (TSU) is no different as it is part of a family affair.
Both Princesse and Shelton’s parents and grandparents are TSU alums, so a continued education as legacy students at the beloved HBCU was always on their radar. However, the twins weren’t admitted on legacy alone. The Nashville natives worked hard for it, earning honor roll and principal’s list status in high school and GPAs worthy of being awarded the Community Foundation’s merit-based Teddy Wilburn Scholarship and the annual LadyAid Scholarship established by Grammy award-winning country music group Lady A.
The work ethic planted in them by their parents, that led to excellence in high school, catapulted them into success at the collegiate level, where they’ve grown their own roots and carved out legacies for themselves.
Princesse worked two jobs by choice, was an active member of the Student Election Commission in student government, and a member of the Alpha Psi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority all while maintaining a high enough GPA to graduate in the spring of 2023, Magna Cumm Laude. She plans to attend TSU for her doctorate in Physical Therapy in the fall.
Shelton continues to build his legacy entering his final year at TSU. Affecting and informing his peers through the Student Election Commission pushes him out of his comfort zone and is his greatest source of accomplishment.
Through it all, leaning into the HBCU and Nashville community that they are so deeply a part of is an experience the siblings don’t take for granted. The twins describe attending a local school as a way to stay grounded in family and friendship, and to recenter oneself.
“To attend an HBCU is a blessing,” says Shelton. “You really are family with your peers in your classroom. Everyone has lent a helping hand in my four years here, and I feel I wouldn’t get that anywhere else.”
About the Teddy Wilburn Scholarship
Country music singer, Grand Ole Opry star, songwriter and manager Teddy Wilburn established a Fund through his estate to help others enjoy the opportunities made available by a college education. With his singing career beginning at age nine, Teddy never had the chance to attend college and wanted to help eager students in need of financial aid.
Eligibility: This scholarship is designed to benefit students at Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University. To be eligible, a student must have at least a B grade average overall during the last two years of high school and have, for the majority of their career, attended high school within the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee.
About the LadyAid Scholarship
The LadyAID Scholarship Fund was established by the GRAMMY Award-winning trio Lady A to support students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in hopes of helping relieve financial barriers to higher education and empower Black communities around the country. In an effort to honor the members’ home states, the scholarship will be eligible for students residing in Tennessee and Georgia and attending any HBCU across the country and/or students attending an HBCU within Tennessee or Georgia.
Eligibility: In an effort to honor the members’ home states, the scholarship will be eligible for students with a family household income of $60,000 or less who are residing in Tennessee or Georgia and attending any HBCU across the country and/or students attending an HBCU within Tennessee or Georgia. The scholarship is renewable, but students must reapply each year.
For questions regarding scholarships, contact our Scholarship Coordinator, Kelly Pietkiewicz at email@example.com.