July 14, 1997

Press Release

Challenge 2000
at the Timbuktu Academy

The Timbuktu Academy at Southern University and A & M College is proud to announce the participation of twenty (20) students in its pilot program entitled "Challenge 2000". The Summer of 1997 marks another benchmark in the history of the Timbuktu Academy with its implementation of a multilevel program. The participants in Challenge 2000 range from rising 10th graders to high school graduates entering college in the Fall of 1997. There was a great demand from the general public to place students in grades tenth through twelfth in summer programs. In order to meet the demands, permission was granted from our primary funding agency, the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR), to implement and closely monitor this program. Its success or failure will determine if the Timbuktu Academy will be able to offer this program in the Summer of 1998.

The summer activities began on Sunday, June 8, 1997 with an orientation and informal gathering. Challenge 2000, like SSI, is a six week residential program which is centered around college preparatory courses for science, mathematics, and engineering curricula. The students are introduced to English, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics (Trigonometry), and Engineering courses at the college level. The students also learn basic computer skills to apply to research presentations and report writing. In addition to the courses, the students visit various sites to learn more about careers in the sciences and engineering. The sites for this year include the Louisiana Arts and Science Center, CAMD, Albemarle, DOW Chemical and Novartis. Each of the students is assigned a research mentor in the areas of physics, chemistry, or engineering. The results of their research will be compiled for a written report as well as an oral presentation.

The Challenge 2000 participants were selected based on academic performance at various grade levels, teacher recommendations, a career essay, and ACT scores. The geographical areas which this year's students represent include Louisiana, North Carolina, California, and Maryland. Each of the Challenge 2000 participants will receive a $1000 stipend upon successful completion of the six week program. The closing ceremony is scheduled for July 18, 1997 at Bonanno's. Additional information on the Timbuktu Academy may be found at its web site ( The list of participants is as follows:


Shawn Abdul, John McDonogh, New Orleans, LA

Vernita Adkins, Scotlandville Magnet, Baton Rouge, LA

Amir Aghajanian, Terry Sanford High, Fayetteville, NC

Brandi Bradford, McKinley Senior High, Baton Rouge, LA

Michael Carmouche, Beau Chene High, Sunset, LA

Gerald Coleman, Coushatta High, Coushatta, LA

Myriette Cosey, Southern Univ. Lab, Baton Rouge, LA

Wayne Dyer, Scotlandville Magnet, Baton Rouge, LA

Eme-Obong Ekpo, Eleanor Roosevelt High, Riverdale, MD

Paulette Grey, McKinley Senior High, Baker, LA

Katrina Lake, Scotlandville Magnet, Baton Rouge

Chenita Landry, Peabody Magnet High, Alexandria, LA

Karlean Lee, Lutcher High, Lutcher, LA

Willie Orugboh, Glen Oaks High, Baton Rouge, LA

Amaris Slater, Duarte High, Duarte, CA

Keshia Thomas, Baker High, Baker, LA

Melinda Thompson, Southern Univ. Lab, Baton Rouge, LA

Keisha N. Williams, Oakdale High, Oakdale, LA

Avery Wilson Scotlandville Magnet Baton Rouge, LA

Jonathan Zeigler Bossier High Shreveport, LA

In case of any questions about the press release, please contact Dr. Diola Bagayoko or Karen Simms at (504) 771-2730 (Voice) or (504) 771-4341 (FAX).