Leadership Skills Win T.C. Students Full Ride to College

T.C. Williams seniors Denay Taylor and Jefrey Lopez Henao plan to be the first in their families to go to college, but both lacked the means to pay for it. They limited their searches to state schools as a way to contain costs. This fall they’re heading out-of-state to Bucknell University and Lafayette College, respectively, with full-tuition, four-year scholarships through the Posse Foundation worth more than $200,000 each.

As the eldest child with three siblings trailing behind, Denay was worried about the financial impact of college on her family and her siblings’ ability to go to college down the road. Her mom had sleepless nights, too. With the business degree that she will now earn from Bucknell, Denay plans to help her parents in their financial services firm and then create one of her own.

When I learned a got the scholarship, I was very happy and excited, but mostly relieved. Being able to put up a nice percentage of what I need for college without my parents having to contribute is great for the whole family. Now my siblings will be able to go to college, too,” said Denay.

Jefrey had been nervous about discussing college, uneasy about not knowing what was ahead. With the psychology degree that he will now earn from Lafayette University, he plans to become a clinical psychologist and provide affordable counseling services, especially to other young people. Having discovered a love of theatre in his performance in T.C.’s production of Noises Off last fall, Jefrey is considering a double major in theatre.

Now I’m looking forward to college and to turning 18 and being independent. Before I was trying to take it one day at a time, now I feel like I can look ahead months into the future and know that I don’t have to worry anymore,” said Jefrey.

Working with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria to apply for the Posse Foundation Scholarship and months-long selection process, the two were chosen from nearly 20,000 applicants from across the country for their academic and leadership potential. It’s the first time that T.C. Williams has had two students earn Posse Foundation Scholarships in a single year. As part of a multicultural “posse” of ten students at their respective schools, they’ll receive mentoring and support from the Foundation throughout their college years and beyond to ensure long term success.

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