LHS student wins scholarship from organization

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published April 26, 2019

 Lincoln High School senior Mackayla Lipford received a $40,000 scholarship to attend Central Michigan University thanks to the Women of Tomorrow organization. She plans to enroll in the pre-med program at CMU.

Lincoln High School senior Mackayla Lipford received a $40,000 scholarship to attend Central Michigan University thanks to the Women of Tomorrow organization. She plans to enroll in the pre-med program at CMU.

Photo by Maria Allard

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WARREN — Lincoln High School senior Mackayla Lipford exemplifies the mission behind the Women of Tomorrow organization.

On April 17, Lipford was honored at a Women of Tomorrow banquet luncheon in Dearborn, during which she received a $40,000 scholarship to attend Central Michigan University.

“I was excited,” Lipford said. “I was so happy. I’m so glad and honored and humbled. It’s a great opportunity. I appreciate being in the Women of Tomorrow.”

The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program was established in Miami in 1997. According to its website, womenoftomorrow.org, the organization “was born out of the belief that caring professional women sharing their knowledge, expertise and support with at-risk and disadvantaged girls can be the catalyst for success by inspiring them to aim higher.”

With her scholarship, which covers tuition and room and board, Lipford plans to enroll in the school’s pre-med program. The LHS student aspires to become a neurosurgeon.

“That’s always been my goal. I know I’m supposed to have doctor in my name,” she said. “I like to care for people.”

She started reading medical books when she was in elementary school and remembers a particular book about neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, the current U.S. secretary of housing and urban development.

“This is amazing,” she thought.

Her mother, a registered nurse, also was an inspiration. Sadly, Lipford’s mom died last year from breast cancer. Although she is not here physically, Lipford feels her mother’s constant presence.

“I feel her all the time,” Lipford said. “She would be so proud of me.”

Lipford has enjoyed her time in the Women of Tomorrow.

“They really give you a nice foundation and helps us bond more. It’s well-rounded,” she said. “They never have disappointed me. It has really helped me open up and grow.”

In her last semester at Lincoln, Lipford is enrolled in graphic design, sculpting, webpage design, anatomy of psychology, mass media and honors calculus.

Along with her studies, Lipford has been involved in several clubs at school, including the National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, student council, leadership group and Project Lighthouse. She also runs track and is the student representative to the school board. She’s also a “model” student outside of school: Lipford has modeled in two fashion shows and would like to pursue modeling along with her medical studies.

LHS guidance counselor Tameka Gaddis and teachers Richelle Epps and Carmen Springfield oversee the Women of Tomorrow at Lincoln, which is part of Van Dyke Public Schools.

“We were all ecstatic for Mackayla,” Gaddis said. “We were excited for her. She’s a deserving student, for sure.”

There are 30 students in the LHS Women of Tomorrow group from each grade level who meet once a week. Gaddis, Epps and Springfield volunteer their time in the program.

Gaddis said several scholarships beginning at $200 were presented at the banquet luncheon from various colleges, including CMU, Michigan State University, Rochester College, the Wayne State College of Engineering and Northwood University. Various corporations also provided scholarships to the female students. There were about 35 tables of 10 girls each at the event.

In the Women of Tomorrow, Gaddis, Epps and Springfield mentor the LHS students on interview skills, goal setting, building healthy relationships, communication skills and creating their résumés.

“We recruit girls that could benefit from a mentoring group,” Gaddis said. “It’s a good program.”

One activity, for example, is the 30-second elevator pitch, in which they have to talk about themselves in 30 seconds with the goal of impressing others. Over the course of the program, Gaddis has witnessed the young women themselves open up. The students also do role-playing exercises.

“Our seniors tend to take our freshmen under their wing. Their attitude towards drama seems to change,” she said. “They get comfortable with each other. They’re ready to share out. I think they take their academics more seriously.”

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