Six high-school seniors selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship each were the center of attention Saturday during a luncheon thrown by their benefactors, the Reston-based Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Foundation Inc., and featured Belle Wheelan, the state Secretary of Education.
In addition, the foundation presented Outstanding Educator Awards to Judith Dawson Clark, a counselor at South Lakes High School, for her 15-year career helping students; Siemens Information and Communication Network Inc. of Reston for its work with Forest Edge Elementary School; and Zeta Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for its work with student scholars and with Lake Anne Elementary's "Gentlemen By Choice" program.
Receiving the scholarships, including their high school and college choice, are Abigail Amoako, Falls Church High, University of Virginia; Everett Corbin III, Herndon High, Hampton University; Lena McAfee, South Lakes High, Brown University; Amber Mason, South Lakes High, Duke University; Vanessa Mack, Herndon High, Christopher Newport University; and Dorien Pinales, South Lakes, Howard University.
Wheelan, during her keynote address, spoke directly to the students, as well as the luncheon attendees: "Remember there are people who love you and care for you and now, are willing to invest in you … and they expect a return on their investment and not only in good grades. To those of you who have made these scholarships possible, I congratulate you because it's important to reach back and bring someone forward with you. …
"In Virginia, the difference between a high-school diploma and an associate's degree is $7,000 per year. The difference between a high-school diploma and a baccalaureate degree is about $17,000 per year. If more parents realized that, they would push their children harder."
Since its creation five years ago, the foundation has awarded 19 scholarships totaling $19,000 to black students in Fairfax County schools.