While working on a scholarship application with his son, Curtis Campbell, alumni of Goose Creek High school and President and CEO of TaxAct, was reminded of the challenges that line the road to attending college.
“I thought back to how challenging it was for most of us in Goose Creek back then since many of our parents didn’t graduate from college,” Campbell said. “There was a pretty small population that decided to go to a four-year university.”
Campbell and Damond Boatwright, GCHS alumni and regional president of SSM Health, attended GCHS together. Back then, the two hadn’t planned to go to college.
Growing up in the area that they did, they faced obstacles that many students did not. The idea of attending college was something that they feel they wouldn’t have had the confidence, opportunity or resources to do without the experiences they had at GCHS.
“In most cases you need to outwork the competition because of where we come from. We came from a poorer area of the city and had to work harder to circumvent those inherent disadvantages,” Campbell said.
When graduation approached, both secured substantial athletic scholarships to The Citadel, a chance to continue playing the sports they found themselves excelling at throughout high school. Boatwright accepted a scholarship for football and Campbell accepted one for wrestling, without which, he says likely would have never attended college. As for Boatwright, the opportunities that football opened up for his future changed everything.
Throughout their journey, both claim that it has been the influence of their coaches, guidance counselors, mentors and leaders that have led them to their current careers.
Today, the two have come together to create a scholarship named the Class of 1990 Black and Gold Scholarship as a way of giving back to the place that impacted their lives so deeply and to supply an opportunity to a Gator in hopes it aids their ability to achieve their dreams.
The Class of 1990 Black and Gold scholarship will be awarded every year to one graduating senior that plans to pursue a four-year college degree with a major in science, business administration, healthcare or engineering. Both alums have made an initial $20,000 investment to the scholarship fund. The recipient will receive a $5,000 scholarship going towards the furthering of their education.
“The generous donation of Mr. Boatwright and Mr. Campbell ensures that our legacy will continue to grow here in the Goose Creek community and beyond. I am so thankful for their partnership in our pursuit of greatness,” said Shameka Washington, principal Goose Creek High School.
As of March 1, the Class of 1990 Black and Gold Scholarship is available for seniors at GCHS to apply for. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2021. The application can be found on the GCHS website.
Campbell is hopeful that this chance they are giving to a high school student will lead to many opportunities down the line and both feel confident that the Gator graduate who receives the award will take advantage of it to the fullest.
“Now with the two of us, two black kids from Goose Creek, in the same graduating class in high school and college and having been lucky enough to become C-suite executives at major companies, it makes our hearts beat with pride to be able to give back to the high school that gave so much to us,” Campbell said.