This October, 17-year-old Megan McBryde was sitting in pre-calculus when she was told to go to Principal Don Macrino’s office. Despite the fact she was sick with no voice, had been anxious all week and was just sent to the principal’s office, she couldn’t have been more excited.
She opened the door to Macrino’s office, and inside was a group of dignitaries that interviewed her the month before and a man holding a camera, taping her every move. It was at that moment she realized she was going to be awarded the $20,000 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship, following in the footsteps of her older sister.
“Oh my God, this was it,” McBryde said, recounting what she was feeling as she knew the scholarship was hers. “I was so happy.”
McBryde’s sister Kaitlyn McBryde was awarded the scholarship in 2007, and Megan was never happy about ceding the spotlight to her sister. Her mother told her if she worked hard, she would have her own moment, and this October it came.
“This was my moment,” Megan McBryde said. “Everything is starting to fall in place for me.”
About the Girl
McBryde is a senior at Waterford High School, and grew up through the Waterford school system. One of her first teachers, first grade teacher Amie Guarraia, left the biggest impression on her, and inspired her to want to become a teacher herself.
“Ever since first grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” McBryde said. “Because of my first grade teacher (Guarraia), I absolutely loved her.”
McBryde said she would play teacher at home as young girl, and now volunteers her time at The Friendship School and the Waterford elementary schools. She wants to attend either the University of Connecticut or Ruters University next fall and study elementary education.
“Megan’s always wanted to be a teacher,” mother Kathleen McBryde said. “Always. And I think if it is in you, it is just in you.”
Megan McBryde, who is the daughter of a pastor, is also a standout student, a member of the Waterford dance team and is involved in the student government. But it isn’t just brains behind Megan’s GPA, Kathleen McBryde said, but hard work.
“She works hard at what she gets,” Kathleen McBryde said. “She’ll sit and do homework for hours and hours. She’s not one of those kids who has a photographic memory or anything, she has to study. And if she needs help after school, she gets it.”
About the Scholarship
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship was started by Eunice and William Waller after King’s death in 1968 with a $100 donation. It has since expanded and is now funded by a variety of sources, with McBryde’s $20,000 scholarship being funded by the Kitchings Family Foundation.
Megan and Kaitlyn McBryde are most likely the first pair of Waterford sisters to both win the scholarship, which is given out in several towns including Waterford each year. Megan McBryde says she feels pressure to be successful after receiving the scholarship, but is hopeful she can be.
“It will be a challenge,” she said. “But I think I can do it if I just stay focused.”