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Simpson student receives prestigious scholarship

Qualan Woodard, an eighth-grade student at J.L. Simpson Middle School, was one of 62 students in the United States to be selected for a Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program and Award. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Every year around January, more than 2,000 seventh graders from across the nation apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program Scholarship.

In September of each year, approximately 60 of those 2,000 scholarship applicants are notified they've received the award.

This year, current J.L. Simpson Middle School eighth grader Qualan Woodard was one of 62 national winners of the Young Scholars scholarship. The program is a scholarship for eighth graders and lasts through their senior year of high school.

“This is a unique program. We actually have on staff educational advisers who counsel, coach and work with the scholars and their families to determine a challenging high school curriculum to properly challenge and meet their potential,” Heather Reams, director of communications for the JKCF said.

Qualan Woodard and his family were excited to receive the letter announcing he was a winner.

His favorite hobbies include animation, programming and engineering with robots. He has even starred in a music video – along with younger brother Qye – acting as a guitar player.

Qualan Woodard has many aspirations for what he wants to be when he grows up; things he feels will be enhanced through this scholarship.

“Obviously engineering, but I also would like to be an animator for TV shows or a game programmer. I may want to study marine biology in college as a major or minor as well,” Qualan Woodard said. “I met a kid at camp who was really good at geography and it would be nice to learn more about the world as well. I got a bunch of apps for my phone and have been studying geography with those.

“I really wanted to get this scholarship because I am still on pretty basic stuff with robotics and programming. I have built little robots, but it was all guided and I don't really know how to do it myself. I also want to get started with circuits and transistors and this scholarship will set me up with classes and after school clubs.”

After fourth grade, it was determined Qualan Woodard could skip fifth grade and go directly to sixth grade due to his advanced math skills. He is now in the accelerated math program in Loudoun County Public Schools.

Qualan is the second of Byron and Tosha Woodard's five children. His older brother Quan, 21, is a senior at George Mason. Qye, 10, Quavi, 8 and Bellen Quinn, 2, round out the Woodard clan.

As is the case with most young boys, Qualan Woodard can often be found active in sports, especially basketball and lacrosse.

Qualan Woodard also goes to Sycolin Creek Elementary School on Saturdays to tutor young students inmath, English or other subjects.

“We really think [Qualan] is deserving of this scholarship because he is overall a good kid. He is a good son, a good older brother, excellent student and so well rounded and he deserves this award,” Byron Woodard said. “We are proud of him because he works really hard and for him this is not about the scholarship, it's about the fact he likes to learn and be challenged. He is a life-long learner and he has a love for education.”


If this doesn’t send chills up and down your spine as a parent not much will.
Congratulations Qualan and family!

From the Woodard Family:  Your kindness, encouragement, and well-wishes are of tremendous value to both our son and family.   The depth of the experience—from the award itself and its offerings to the community’s response—makes for a remarkable triumph.  A most sincere thank-you.

Thumbs up!!

This is just awesome! We all need to read these feel good stories and learn of the GOOD kids we have in our community. The world seems to be so focused on the bad things that happen, that the good falls to the waist side.
I wish all the best to Qualan. Sounds like he’s got a GREAT head on his shoulders and a wonderful future ahead of him. Congrats to Qualan and his family. Good job Mom and Dad!

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