This year twenty-nine students were awarded scholarships and/or participation into our mentoring program. Students applied from the University of Washington (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses), Washington State University, Seattle Central, Bellevue College, and Seattle World School, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, Nathan Hale, Garfield, Franklin, and Ingraham High Schools. Their countries of origin are Mexico, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Cambodia, El Salvador, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Kenya, Somalia, and Georgia.
About half of the awards were to new recipients, and half were to renewing students. Students are now attending the University of Washington (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma); Washington State University; Seattle Central, South, North, and Bellevue Colleges; and Renton Technical College.
Awards ranged from $500 to $3500, depending on financial need after FAFSA and other scholarship awards were taken into account. This year’s careful interviewing and financial assessment process insured that funds went to the greatest needs. This year we wanted to provide higher funding for our students who are now seniors at UW and face loans and big bills. To this end, we made an extra fundraising effort and, thanks to very generous donors, met our goal of $30,000! We helped students avoid higher loans, and pay for books, supplies, laptops, transportation, and room and board.
All students were offered mentorship. Starting at a new school is a challenge for any students, but for students whose English isn’t perfect and whose parents know little about the educational system in this country, it’s even harder. We helped our new students make sure they understood their financial aid and how to access their funds, how to save money on books, how to register for classes, and where to find tutoring and support centers. We helped students practice their English, prepare for job interviews, and look for internships. We had outings to Seattle Art Museum, and dance concerts.
Seattle World School Alumni Scholarship recipients have come a long way – from wars and religious persecution, political turmoil, interrupted education, and economic hardships – to a new country where they had to learn a new language and culture. Our students have overcome the odds to graduate from high school and begin their college education or vocational training. Our winners all demonstrate a commitment to continued learning and improving their lives. They want to give something back, too. Most are the first in their families to attend college and will be role models for their communities.