Joshua Hawkins, an outstanding student and athlete at Memphis University School, looks forward to a promising future.
The 18-year-old high school senior has been accepted at four elite Ivy League Colleges – Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Brown. If he doesn't choose from that quartet, Vanderbilt University and the University of Michigan also want him.
Representing the fourth generation of the Church of God in Christ, Hawkins is the son of Temple of Deliverance COGIC Pastor Milton R. Hawkins and first lady Catherine C. Hawkins.
With a GPA of 4.8, SAT score of 2130 and an ACT score of 34, Joshua would be an inviting candidate to attend any institution of higher learning. His academic prowess is complemented by his involvement in school and church activities. Consider this partial list: President of the MUS Diversity and Tolerance Club; MUS Ambassador; Emmanuel Basketball Team; MUS Mock Trial; MUS Peer Tutor; Civic Service Organization; TOD Music Production; and GE Patterson Summer Camp counselor.
During an interview with The New Tri-State Defender, Joshua gave props to Memphis University School, calling it "a challenging high school with many of the best teachers in the city. The academic vigor is what sets Memphis University School apart from many other schools in Memphis."
Well-prepared for the next level of learning, Joshua said, "I chose these colleges because of their academics resources, research opportunities and good student-teacher ratio. I am not sure what my major will be, however, I'm geared toward philosophy and economics because of my religious background and my love for math."
Focus, discipline and time management are required in getting an education and a professional career, said Joshua, who readily acknowledges his network of support.
"My mother and father have been one hundred percent behind me in all of my athletic and academic endeavors, pushing me to do my best. My mother has been the key to my educational success. I admire my dad because he is the perfect example of a man that is God fearing, humble and faithful to his church and his family," said Joshua.
Pastor Hawkins said it's crucial for parents and guardians to invest in their children, take time with them and push church, salvation and education.
"It is very important to put Christ first and not neglect the education aspect of the children," he said. "Our churches can offer after-school programs, tutoring, education day, and promote education within the rights of the church. Education is the pathway to a better future. God and education is what we teach here at Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ."
Brian K. Smith, MUS college counselor, said the college counseling program at MUS is intense and begins the moment a student matriculates to the school.
"As college counselors, we are involved in every facet of a student's life at the school from selecting courses to their involvement in extracurricular activities. Joshua is that extraordinary young man who understands when it is appropriate to have fun and when it is time to buckle down and complete the task placed in front of him," Smith said.
"Joshua has met those challenges with great aplomb. Having enrolled in the most rigorous of courses from the very beginning, his consistent college preparatory track makes him one of the most impressive students at our school. Academically, Joshua is more than a solid 'A; student."
By self-description, Joshua is a very religion person. Church, he said, taught him to "put God first. High school has taught me there are challenges you face everyday, but there are ways to overcome them.
"I believe there is nothing I can't achieve in my life."