The Upward Bound program created “Scholarship Saturdays”, a four-week elective seminar for high school seniors. Nine students were paired with Gates Millennium Scholars, John Jay Scholars, Ronald McDonald, Philip and Cheryl Milstein, and Arthur N. Rupe scholarship winners, for mentoring on their applications and personal statements, and researching additional opportunities within and outside of Double Discovery.
“Getting into college is only half the effort. I would not be at Columbia if it were not for scholarships,” said Ashwath Chennapan, a Columbia College class of 2015 volunteer mentor. Chennapan won the Arthur N. Rupe, John Jay, and Philip and Cheryl Milstein scholarships. He wanted to share his knowledge and insight with students.
Rubab Rehman, a Columbia College class of 2015 volunteer, wanted to give back to the community. “Gates and Ronald McDonald opened up a lot of opportunities,” said Rehman. The Gates Millennium Scholars program required that Rehman submit eight essays. [It’s] great to be here and mentor and be here as a source of support,” she added.
“Every student deserves a chance to go to college, no matter their financial status [and] I love helping out,” said Carmin Munoz (pictured), a Gates Millennium Scholars winner and Columbia College class of 2016 volunteer mentor. She also wanted to share her insights with DDC seniors.
Students said “Scholarship Saturdays” was a chance to find more ways to pay for their college education– and make good use of their free time.
“It’s good for me to get out of the house and do something productive,” said Gabrielle, a Double Discovery senior who is working on her applications for Best Buy and The Poster Project.
“It’s more productive if I came out [to Double Discovery] and not sit at home because I probably won’t look at scholarships,” said Shakerra who was researching opportunities.
John, a member of his high school’s wrestling team, said this course gave him more time to focus on finding ways to pay for college and get feedback on his essays. He is applying for the Jackie Robinson scholarship and researching more leads.
By the end of the first session, the Center required students to draft a minimum of two scholarship essays and identify at least two additional opportunities. For the remainder of the course, mentors will work with students to edit their statements, complete their application materials and continue to investigate more leads.
The Center would like to thank Ashwath Chennapan, Carmin Munoz and Rubab Rehman for mentoring and sharing their insights with Double Discovery students.
Story and photos by Lisa Herndon