Westover student named State STAR student of year - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Westover student named State STAR student of year

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – For the first time in history, a Dougherty County student is Georgia's state STAR student of the year. The Westover High School senior is now setting his sights on college and a bright future after that.

$53,000 a year. That's how much money it costs to attend Yale University. But Michael Lomax won't have to pay a dime. He's received a full ride to the Ivy League school. Raised by a single mom, and working himself to help cover expenses for the past couple of years, it's a break Lomax has worked hard for.

It's safe to say that Michael Lomax is a motivated student. "I just consider everything I've gotten up to this point, payback for hard work," he said.

Hard at work studying and making sure to give 100% at everything he does. "Time is precious, so if you're going to do something that takes up even a moment of your time, you might as well go after it full force."

Like being named the best and brightest student in the entire state of Georgia. It's not been without sacrifice. Lomax was raised by a single mom and for the past two years has worked on weekends to help pay the bills.

Lomax said, "Definitely to kind of help out with expenses and other bills and things that we needed to take care of."

And now, he's taken care of what will likely be one of the biggest bills of his life, all of his college expenses. It's something that fills his mother Jaye with pride, and overwhelming emotion.

She said, "He's a good kid. He's a good kid. He's every parent's dream. I hope he'll continue." And she hopes that others learn from Michael's example.

"Being poor is not an excuse," she said.  "There's a lot of help out there if you have grades. If you are willing to learn, if you're willing to study, if you're willing to go above and your capacity, what you can do. Being poor is not an excuse to not do good in school."

And Lomax says he won't be using any excuses in the future, just forging ahead, to continue to make his mother proud. He said, "I don't know completely yet where my life is headed, but I know that I'm headed in the right direction."

Reaching for the stars, all while continuing to be one.  Lomax credits his eighth grade teacher Carole Wiles as being one of his inspirations for working so hard in school.

For being named as the State STAR student, he received a $5,000 scholarship.

Lomax not only has a full ride to Yale, but he is also one of 1,000 students in the country to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship this year, which will pay for most of his expenses if he chooses to attend graduate school.

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