Myles Dunn, a recent graduate of Carver Early College, will be attending Emory University on a full-ride scholarship—via the QuestBridge National College Match program—this fall.
Dunn, who was also one of three Gates Millennial Scholars from Atlanta Pubic Schools and the valedictorian of his high school graduating class, said he plans to major in business administration and economics.
Founded in 1994, QuestBridge is a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities.
Dunn joins 1,043 other top high school students from across the nation who were awarded full scholarships to Questbridge’s 41 partnering schools through its highly competitive National College Match program.
The National College Match is a highly competitive process drawing applications from impressive students across the country, according to a spokesperson for Questbridge. This year’s College Match Scholarship Recipients had an average unweighted GPA of 3.93.
On standardized testing, the middle 50 percent received between 1360-1500 on the SAT and between 29-33 on the ACT. Ninety-four percent were within the top 10 percent of their graduating class.
Alongside his acceptance into Emory, Dunn was also accepted into Harvard, New York University, George Washington University, the University of Miami, the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Howard University, as well as local colleges like Morehouse College, Clark-Atlanta University and Georgia State University.
But when it came time to apply for the QuestBridge program last fall, some unsolicited advice from a recruiter nearly broke the 18-year-old’s confidence, he told The Atlanta Voice.
“When I first learned of QuestBridge, the scholarship program I used to apply to Emory, my mom and I were talking with one of the recruiters. He basically told us, ‘Don’t get your hopes up because not many people get the scholarship.’
“I don’t remember his name or official title, but because of that, I became discouraged and didn’t think I was going to get it,” he said. “So, opening (my acceptance letter) just proved to me that no matter what anyone has to say, anything is still possible if you put in the work.”
And Myles definitely put in the work. In addition to maintaining a near-perfect GPA and logging hundreds of community service hours, he also participated in a number of extracurricular activities, including a season on Carver’s varsity football team.
“I didn’t want to see my parents have to struggle,” Myles said, about being motivated to earn a full-ride scholarship. “Throughout my childhood, even though she would say it jokingly, my Mom would warn me, ‘If you don’t get a full ride, there’s no way we’re going to be able to get you into college.’
“Though she may have been joking, I took it very seriously and I made it my goal. I didn’t want either of my parents to have to pay for me to attend college,” he continued. “I was happy for myself but I was also happy to take that burden off of their shoulders.”
Though she admitted she was only half-joking with her son about paying for school, Dunn’s mother Rhonda Dunn, who works at Atlanta Public Schools, said she was always firm with Myles and his siblings on the importance of education.
“Every day, as soon as they crossed the threshold of our home (after school), they needed to instantly sit at the living room table, open their books and begin their homework,” she said.
Myles said he counted on the nurturing presence of his parents, Rhonda and Richard Dunn, as well as the help of their extended family as the source of an unwavering network of support throughout his high school years. Dunn is the great-grandson of J. Lowell Ware, the founder of this publication.
“I’ve always had a close, tight-knit family,” Myles said. “We go by the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ And that’s especially true of my household.
“Every adult, aunt or uncle, has figured out a way to impact my life in some shape or form, whether it be helping me with a homework assignment, giving me money or taking me out to an event.”
Myles said he his hopeful that his time at Emory will help him grow as a person and expose him to people with experiences much different than his own.
“Going to Emory, I hope to be exposed to different cultures, because it is a PWI (predominantly white institution), and look forward to learning how to interact with different types of people who may not look like me, people who have different beliefs than me and people who have different values.”
More than anything, Rhonda said she wants to see her oldest child flourish and grow while he is away on campus at Emory.
“Myles has been an exceptional child,” Rhonda said. “Of course, he had to grow up a little bit quicker than most of his friends. Not much, because I always wanted him to maintain a childhood, but in the struggle and sacrifices that we all had to make, he did such an exceptional job at being a child and excelling academically.
“We made a pact,” she continued. “I want him to experience life, I want him to take the hits, and I want him to take the victories and deal with them as an individual and as a man.”