Donel Heflin has been a member of Usher’s New Look since 2005. Now, Donel is graduating from Towers High School in Atlanta where he was a part of the drama club, swim and baseball teams. He was also the drub major in the school band for the past two years and is an active member of his church youth choir, while also occasionally serving as a musician for services. Recently, Donel was awarded the Usher Raymond UNCF College Scholarship for all his hard work and dedication to New Look. Check out his reflection below on what receiving the award meant to him.
“There was a point in my senior year where I thought college was out of reach. All of the hard work I had been putting in wasn’t doing anything. I had no scholarships or money for school, so college didn’t seem like an attainable goal. The military became an option, and seemed like my only way out. Then one day, I got a call from James Harris, New Look Atlanta Coordinator, saying I had received the 2014 Usher Raymond Scholarship, which blew my mind because I had just committed to the military. However, this put a drive in me. I started going on college tours and looking into schools and applying for other scholarships. After looking around I found a school and band I really liked in Talladega College. My parents didn’t have the same vision, which created some tension between us for a moment but once I showed them the other scholarships I was able to obtain, they came around. During this time my sister got into a car accident and it affected me heavily. With her accident, it made me realize that you have to live your life to the fullest for yourself, because your actions and your decisions affect you ultimately at the end of the day.
The UNCF Awards was absolutely phenomenal. It was an honor to be in the presence and meet the presidents of the wonderful HBCU’s and organizations. It was amazing. When I sat down with Dr. Billy Hawkins, President Of Talladega College, he told me he was going to make sure that his students have the financial stability to graduate and make it through college without any worry at all, which was cool to me. He makes sure that the businesses surrounding the school pour back into theschool and help out. I’d like to thank every single person I’ve met in my time here at New Look since 2005. I’d like to give a special thanks to Dewey Da Don, Godfather, Gavin, Tommy Springer and many more. So many people supported me from when I first came in as an 8 year old, and helped me grow through elementary school, middle school, and high school. I’m very appreciative to Usher’s New Look.” Sincerely, Donel Heflin