The Mobile County Public School System's Class of 2013 received $68 million in college scholarships. That's an increase from $65 million awarded to the Class of 2012, even as the school system has one fewer high school.
A total of 983 students received monetary awards for college, representing 28 percent of the graduating class.
At Bryant High School in Bayou La Batre, a remarkable 49 percent of students received at least one scholarship offer. The 183 scholarship recipients there earned $10.1 million worth of offers. Baker High in west Mobile had the highest total scholarships, with 191 graduates earning $14.6 million. That was 37 percent of the graduates.
Rounding out the top scholarship totals were:
Davidson High, where 95 students (30 percent of the graduates) received $11.6 million.
Montgomery High, where 119 (29 percent) received $7.4 million.
Vigor High, where 57 students (29 percent) received $3.6 million.
LeFlore High, where 52 students (24 percent) received $3.8 million.
Murphy High, where 110 students (23 percent) received $7 million.
Baker High's valedictorian, Austin Saunders, who wants to be an engineer, is heading off to the Colorado School of Mines with a hefty scholarship. He received offers totaling $207,000.
Baker classmate Meghan Sergeant received $410,000 worth of scholarships. She has turned down offers at American University in Washington, D.C., as well as the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Troy University, Spring Hill College and Loyola University.
Meghan plans to enroll in the University of South Alabama, where she has a "full ride" with Presidential and Alumni scholarships. Hoping to become a diplomat, she will major in international studies.
Countywide, $54 million of the scholarships were based on academics. The second highest category was military scholarships, which totaled $4.4 million.
Students received $3.4 million worth of athletic scholarships, with students at Baker, Blount, Vigor and Davidson earning at least $600,000 worth of athletic scholarships apiece.
Scholarships were also awarded in the arts, for leadership and in other categories.
This comes as the Mobile County Public School System is making other gains in high school. The four-year graduation rate is up to 70 percent with our goal being to increase it to 80 percent by 2020.
The school system has increased its number of Advanced Placement courses that allow students to earn college credit. This year, 2,191 students took 3,118 exams, a 30 percent leap over 2012.
Also, more students than ever before are earning career credentials. This year, more than 1,400 students graduated from high school with some type of certification, ranging from workforce readiness to OSHA 10-hour safety cards to being Certified Nursing Assistants.