High School Senior Receives Gardner-Webb University’s Top Scholarship

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Ignite Excellence Comprehensive Scholarship Valued at Nearly $165,000 Awarded to Clayton, N.C., Student

Mike McCray with his parents
From left: Marci, Mike, and Michael McCray

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – A Clayton, N.C., high school student has been awarded a four-year, comprehensive scholarship to attend Gardner-Webb University, a Division I liberal arts Christian institution located in the foothills of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.

18-year-old Michael “Mike” McCray, son of Michael and Marci McCray of Clayton, N.C., learned of the Ignite Excellence Comprehensive Scholarship award during a surprise ceremony at the school on March 2. Previously, he and more than 200 other students traveled to Gardner-Webb to interview for a chance to receive a tuition, room and board scholarship or one of four full-tuition scholarships. McCray was awarded the comprehensive scholarship, valued at approximately $165,000 over the course of four years. Members of the GWU Office of Undergraduate Admissions made the announcement among McCray’s family, friends, and teachers. For him, the decision to attend Gardner-Webb was simple.

“I want to be at a place where I feel I can grow spiritually and be active on campus—where I can get a solid education from teachers who care and want me to succeed,” McCray explained. “I want to be part of a strong, Christ-rooted community and that’s why I chose Gardner-Webb.”

Mike McCray with Mack the BulldogWhile an excellent academic record initially qualified McCray for an opportunity to interview for the top scholarship, his outside-the-classroom commitments helped him stand out from other worthy candidates. He is a track-and-field athlete, a member of Student Government, National Honor Society, National French Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (mathematics honor society). He has volunteered for Operation Christmas Child, With Love From Jesus, Strong Foundations Ministry, and Environmental Club’s Adopt-A-Highway clean up. At Gardner-Webb, McCray plans to major in biology and eventually hopes to enroll in medical school.

This marks the second consecutive year that a Clayton High School student has received Gardner-Webb University’s highest academic scholarship. In 2016, Bridgette Turner of Clayton, N.C. was awarded the top prize. The Ignite Excellence Scholarship Program awards one comprehensive scholarship, four tuition-only four-year scholarships, and several $3,000-per-year renewable academic scholarships. Each candidate participates in an individual interview, a group interview, and a critical thinking/leadership analysis. All students involved in the scholarship interviews were offered a $2,000 scholarship if they decide to attend Gardner-Webb.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.