Twelve Make Final Round in Bid for Four-Year Scholarships

Twelve T.C. Williams High School seniors have been selected for the final round of the Posse Foundation’s Posse Scholarship — an award given to public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked in the traditional college selection process.

Next week these seniors will participate in a final round of interviews after which the winners will be announced. The winners will be awarded full, four-year tuition scholarships starting in 2016.

“These students are in the top five percent at T.C. Williams, but it is not just about GPA, they are heavily involved with sports and voluntary work in the community. What sets these students apart is their ability to juggle things. There is no doubt they are a special group of students, but here at T.C. Williams we are working to ensure every student succeeds,” said International Academy counselor Elizabeth Merion.

Most of the students selected to participate in the final round of interviews will be the first generation in their family to go to college. All 12 of the students are a part of the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) system which holds students accountable to the highest standards while providing academic and social support. AVID’s education system brings research-based curriculum and strategies to students each day in an effort to develop critical thinking, literacy and math skills across all content areas ensuring each student is prepared for either college or a career.

T.C. Williams nominated 28 students for the Washington D.C. Posse Scholarship Program, from which the 12 were selected. Seniors had to fill out lengthy applications about themselves and their families, list extracurricular activities, provide academic records and undergo a first round of interviews. The nominees then participated in impromptu group interviews that made them rely on their creativity. Part of the interview process required them to make up and perform group skits based on current events.

The 12 seniors that made it through to the final round are: Ishrat Azim, Ismelda Bustillo Romero, Francy Cabrera-Paz, Hermer Flores, Iesha Kenny, Annette Koroma, Nana Adwo Osei-Bonsu, Rebecca Quintero, Durdana Shah, Reshma Shrestha, Yosselin Turcios and Daniel Villarroel Cordova.

“Before the first interview, we work with these students to help them understand how things in the world might affect them. We get these amazing students ready to interview, making sure they are comfortable and college ready,” said T.C. Williams teacher Sarah Kiyak.

Founded in 1989, Posse identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential that may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse offers students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams — Posses — of ten students. Posse partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.

The Posse Foundation has awarded over $805 million in leadership scholarships to young people. The students who receive their scholarships have a 90 percent persistence and graduation rate.

ACPS, Alexandria City High School