I wish you could have been with me at the Justice High School Senior Awards Ceremony on May 31st when I had the privilege of announcing the recipients of. the college scholarships you made possible with your generous financial donations. You would have come away, as I did, with optimism about our future and satisfaction that the generosity of a community and the hard work of volunteers can make a real difference. Because of your financial contributions and lots of dedicated work by our volunteer board of directors, we were able to award $235,000 in last dollar scholarships to sixty-four ambitious, bright, and deserving young men and women- the most scholarship money we have ever awarded in a single year.
The students you helped included Diego, who will study aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech. Diego's accomplishments included leading a group of students in the performance of Othello Act V as part of a class project, going to the state finals as part of the Forensics and Debate Team, playing the lead in a school musical theatre production, working with the VEX Robotics team, and compiling a 4.44 grade point average. No wonder one of his teachers declared that Diego is "destined for world-changing greatness." Without your help, Diego might not have been able to take the next step towards a promising future.
You also helped make college possible for Rahem, who will pursue a degree in cybersecurity at George Mason University. Rahem worked long hours in his family's grocery store, particularly after the pandemic impacted the business and his father suffered a stroke. Despite his long hours supporting the family business, Rahem achieved a 3.4 grade point average and was recognized for being amount "a small group of students who complete every assignment on time and with clear effort and engagement." One teacher commented that Rahem's "academic talents shine in the face of challenges and [his] personal strengths enhance the learning experience for everyone in the room."
Keylin, another awardee, had to overcome the challenges posed by a completely new environment and language when she immigrated with her family from Honduras in 2019. She managed to thrive, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average and participating in extra-curricular activities, all while learning to speak English. Keylin intends to pursue a career as a math teacher because she "consider[s] it as one of the most meaningful ways to help the community." Keylin will attend Northern Virginia Community College.
Dianna's scholarship will enable her to attend George Mason University. Dianna demonstrated her passion for helping others learn by mentoring elementary school students and participating in a program at JHS to help freshman transition to high school. Meanwhile, Dianna achieved a 4.1 grade point average and challenged herself in multiple advanced-level classes. She is a member of several honor societies including Spanish, Science, Art, and the National Honor Society. Dianna's recommendations from her teachers were glowing.
You also helped dozens of other bright and deserving graduates, all of whom have compelling stories about overcoming economic hardship and other challenges so they could fulfill their dreams of attending college. Thanks to all of you for helping make it happen.
James R. Schroll, President Justice High School Scholarship Fund