LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A college student who was crowned Miss Juneteenth in 2007 says she is still missing her promised scholarship.
Kanesha Waritay is soon to be a college junior, but the summer before her high school senior year, she won Lubbock's Miss Juneteenth pageant, but three years have passed and she says she still has not been awarded her scholarship, and now she just wants to know why.
Waritay has her crown, and she has her sash, but the only thing Waritay and her mother Rhonda Harris say they are missing is the promised prize. "When she told me there was a $1000 scholarship, I was very excited, it's not a lot of money, it's not, but it helps," said Harris.
Waritay won her crown in June of 2007. She started attending Texas Tech in the fall of 2008 to study pharmacy. Harris says she repeatedly tried to contact the Juneteenth Committee President, Tonya Johnson, to find out the status of the scholarship, but she says it was very difficult.
"When we started calling her, of course her phone would just ring, ring, ring and then eventually her number was changed, so a whole year went by and we got no results," said Harris.
The following year Waritay transferred to West Texas A&M University for a semester, before going to South Plains College, where she is today, but Waritay says each time she switched schools, she made sure to let the committee president know.
Still waiting, she says when she was able to talk to Johnson her responses just weren't adding up. "She said that the sponsors never paid their money so we couldn't have it, and then she was saying that I didn't give her my schedule and I gave her two copies and those were really the only two excuses she made," said Waritay.
But when we went to interview Johnson neither of those reasons were mentioned. "As far as we knew the scholarship has been provided so there was nothing else to do on our end," said Johnson.
Johnson had a prepared statement to release, and wasn't willing to comment on many questions. She did say that the recipient claimed that she did not receive the scholarship in January of 2009, so therefore the committee is investigating this claim along with the partnering institution.
Johnson explained that when a winning contestant decides to attend a partnering institute, it is the responsibility of the college or university to pay the scholarship. "It is under investigation and once it has been proven whether or not from our partnering institution that this scholarship was received or not, we have no further comments on the issue," said Johnson.
But that was still more than a year ago, when asked if Johnson has contacted the institute to find how why it has taken more then a year she said, "Of course, I have."
When asked what their response was she said, "I can't give you their response, I can't speak for them.
And as Waritay will start another college semester this fall, she says she will continue to wait for her prize. "I really don't expect to see it, I hope to see it, but my expectations have really gone down," said Waritay.
Johnson did tell us that if the investigation proves that the scholarship was never given, then the Juneteenth committee does have the funds to pay the scholarship, if there is proof of enrollment.
While she did not reveal the name of the institute involved, we contacted Texas Tech who did release this statement to us:
"We were prepared to apply the scholarship for the fall 2009 semester, but the student did not enroll. We cannot award scholarships to people that are not enrolled as students at the university."
Now according to the Juneteenth Committee rules, you are allowed to attend any college or university of your choice, and be able receive the scholarship. Depending on whether on the college or university is a partnering institute, will decide who funds the scholarship.
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