Yesterday, as has been the tradition since 1989, D.C. high school students learned that they were awarded full-ride Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarships to the George Washington University. G.W. President Dr. Stephen Knapp surprised these extremely fortunate young people in person in their classrooms complete with college acceptance letters. Two of the ten students currently attend charter schools.
These are not easy scholarships to win. The press release announcing the awardees states that “GW selects students based on high school academic performance, strength of curriculum, recommendations, leadership qualities, community service, extracurricular activities and achievements and standardized test scores, should they choose to submit them under the university’s new test-optional policy.” The students are nominated by their high school counselors. There are also interviews with the students in order to identify the finalists.
Student winners from charter schools include Joel Escobar of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy – Parkside High School Campus. Mr. Escobar plans to major in computer science. He is the first in his family to go to college, and will graduate at the top of his class. Mr. Escobar has been a supporter of those who have suffered domestic abuse, and he is also captain of the school’s soccer team.
Jenesis Duran was offered a scholarship and is currently attending Washington Latin PCS. She is also captain of the charter’s soccer team. Ms. Duran wants to study international relations and so will attend the Elliot School as did my wife. She is currently both the school’s secretary and treasurer, and is active in the League of United Latin American citizens.
Eight other students were presented with this prize. They include:
Cherisse Hayes from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; Lorrin Davis from the Columbia Heights Education Campus; Ana Lopez also from the Columbia Heights Education Campus; Sydney Austin from the National Cathedral School; William Davis from Woodrow Wilson High School; Michael Degaga from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Emmoni Morrisey from McKinley Technology High School; and Adonte Yearwood from Eastern High School.
Students enrolled in accredited charter, traditional public, and private schools are eligible for the Trachtenberg Scholarships. The money is awarded annually and then renewed based upon satisfactory academic results. 166 young people have been provided with these grants since the program started, which covers tuition, room and board, books, and any additional fees. Impressively, about 92 percent of those students receiving the scholarships have graduated.
This will be the last year that Dr. Knapp will be giving out these awards as he is retiring. He has told me that he always feels that this is his favorite day of the year.