The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) awarded $504,000 in college scholarships to 181 graduating seniors from the T.C. Williams Class of 2020. This is the largest amount awarded for first-year scholarships in the organization’s 34-year program history.
The SFA scholarships will help students with financial need attend college this fall, and importantly will support them through all four years of college to help ensure they obtain their degree. The SFA awards an additional $550,000 in renewal scholarships each year to help students with financial need during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. The renewal scholarships will be awarded later this summer. In total, the SFA will award over $1 million in scholarships to TC Williams graduates and alumni during 2020. More than half of the students receiving scholarships are the first in their family to attend college.
“In a year disrupted by the COVID pandemic and COVID economic impacts, the scholarships that we help provide are needed now more than ever by Alexandria students and their families,” said Priscilla Goodwin, SFA Board Chair. “For many of our bright, hard-working recipients, these scholarships are the difference between a student going to college or simply staying home. We are so grateful for the generosity of the Alexandria and DC-area community that makes these scholarships, and a college education possible for local students in need.”
The 181 students receiving scholarships are heading to schools across the country, including Princeton University, Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Spelman College, Howard University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, The College of William & Mary, James Madison University and Northern Virginia Community College. They will be going on to major in computer science, biology, recording and studio arts, nursing and business among many other subjects next year.
“We are so very proud of the next generation of nurses, doctors, business leaders, computer scientists, recording artists, biologists, and professors who are heading off to college this fall thanks to the generosity of this community,” said Beth Lovain, Executive Director of SFA. “It has been an extraordinary year wrought with challenges on all sides. We are so very happy to be able to fund these students in their first year of college. The need is great and growing in our community, fueled especially by the COVID economic downturn. We will continue to raise funds to ensure that we can help T.C. Williams graduates through all four years of college.”
For 34 years, the SFA has held its Spring Black Tie Fundraising Gala and its Scholarship Fund Awards Ceremony, where individual community supporters and local business leaders who provided the funding for the scholarships join the recipients on stage for the presentation of the scholarship. The cancellation of both events due to the COVID-19 crisis has posed unique challenges for the organization. In 2020 the SFA held its annual fundraising gala and auction online. In lieu of a scholarship awards ceremony, the 2020 scholarship recipients each recorded a short video to express personal thanks to the donor of their scholarship. A compendium of some thank-you videos can be found here: https://youtu.be/NQ26JiwE3Vg
The SFA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization providing scholarships and financial aid advising to students of Alexandria City Public Schools. Since 1986, SFA has awarded $16.5 million in scholarships, making college dreams become reality for 4,930 students. More information can be found at https://www.alexscholarshipfund.org/.
Class of 2020 Scholarship Recipient Highlights:
FOZIYA MOHAMMED -- Recipient of the Collis Warner Family Foundation Scholarship. Mohammed, who came to the U.S. from Ethiopia at age 12, is the recipient of our largest scholarship this year, worth $40,000 over 4 years. Her SFA scholarship, coupled with institutional aid, will enable her to receive a full ride scholarship to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA where she plans to study criminal justice or law. Mohammed explained, "I was worried about how I would afford a 4-year degree, and this scholarship will make that a certainty. I would tell the students who come after me that hard work pays off."
AMIYA CHISOLM -- Recipient of the T.C. Williams Class of 1989 Scholarship. Chisolm, who was born and raised in Alexandria, will be receiving a $20,000 scholarship over four years at Norfolk State University studying business management. Amiya, who is the first generation in her family to attend college, served as Class President at T.C. for 11-12th grade, participated in a number of AP and DE classes, was active in the Minority Student Achievement Network and was the ACPS Student School Board Representative. Chisolm exclaimed, "I cannot thank my teachers, counselors and my mother enough for guiding me through these years to be in a position to win this scholarship. This opportunity will change my life and is so greatly appreciated."
HAYDEE PATTERSON -- Recipient of the Helen Denny Scholarship funded by Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota. Patterson, who began his ACPS career at Douglas MacArthur Elementary, will be receiving a $12,000 scholarship over four years at Virginia State University studying mass communication. At TC, Haydee was active in musical drama and advanced choir, a peer advisor, 12th grade student government leader and President of the Black Student Union. He wants to work in communications in part to make linkages between races, communities and tribes and to make a difference. Patterson said, "This scholarship will help my family and me tremendously. I am proud of what I have accomplished and look forward to what I can achieve. This scholarship will give me the opportunity I never thought I would receive.”
REBEKAH LAMARRE -- 2020 Recipient of the CommonWealth One FCU TCW Scholarship. Lamarre, who began her ACPS career at Douglas MacArthur Elementary, will be receiving a $12,000 scholarship over four years at Shenandoah University studying recording and audio arts. AT TC she played soccer, volunteered actively and was a member of the Leadership team.Her teachers describe her as being a bright, compassionate leader who is dedicated to making TC Williams a better community. Lamarre noted, "Being awarded a scholarship is just the first step in achieving my goals and becoming the entertainer I always dreamed of becoming as a little girl. My dream is to become a music engineer and produce music for aspiring artists..."
STEVEN BAILIBUNO -- Recipient of an SFA Scholarship. Bailibuno, who was born in the U.S. but spent time living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will be receiving a $12,000 scholarship over four years at Brigham Young University studying Business and Computer Science.Steven was active in Youth Group, volunteering for ALIVE and is an accomplished dancer. He improved his grades steadily through high school while holding a part time job. His teachers describe him as "a burst of bright light in the classroom," “a compassionate global citizen,” and "having a heart of gold." He is credited as being a friend to all and lauded for encouraging students considering dropping out to stay the course. Bailibuno said, "I committed myself to work hard in school so that I can be admitted into a good university and gain a better education that will allow me to help many people living in a hard situation, not only in Congo but around the world.."
BRITANY MORALES -- Recipient of the Goodwin House Scholarship. Morales, who began her ACPS career at William Ramsey Elementary, will be receiving a $12,000 scholarship over four years at Marymount University studying nursing.AT TC she studied for and completed her CNA Certified Nurses Assistant certificate. Her teachers describe her as bright, conscientious and persistent.She balanced a strong academic performance with working part time at Goodwin House Alexandria to help support her family and her college dreams. Morales said, "I come from a family of six kids. So this award means a lot to me and my family. I have wanted to study nursing at Marymount since I first heard about the program so I can become a Labor & Delivery Nurse or a Physician's Assistant. I am so very grateful..."
2020 SFA Scholarship Recipients:
Maryam Al Haddad
Sindy Carballo Garcia
Emile Cohen Suárez
Imane Deddahi Mohamed
Odaliv Del Cid Reyes
Mahmoud El Arag
Youssef El Boubou
Stephany Garcia Castillo
Maria Giron Bolanos
Susan Gonzalez Guevara
Natalia Pena Cruz
Maria Prieto Morales
Idalia Rivera Romero
Tichara Robertson Lewis