The Johnson Scholars Program offers college scholarships to disadvantaged students and helps to prepare them for post-secondary success. Since 2008 it has reached nearly 500 students and awarded 240 students scholarships in value over $3 million.
The criteria for selection of Johnson Scholars is not based upon academic achievement. Ideal candidates are those who have the ability to graduate and attend college but are not headed in that direction. Johnson Scholars are selected in grade 9 and are given 4 years of preparation in a peer cohort system supported by teachers and outside mentors.
Preparation of Johnson Scholars encourages academic remediation and progress, but this is not an end in itself. Rather it is part of the process that leads Johnson Scholars to believe that a college degree and success in life is within their reach. Children of affluent or college educated parents grow up with this belief. Johnson Scholars must acquire it.
The promise of a scholarship is a show of faith in a student. It says that a prestigious Foundation is willing to invest its money in them because they have what it takes to succeed. Teachers and mentors build on this faith. Students do their part by applying themselves. They see that their effort is rewarded by academic success and come to believe in their ability to succeed.
Take Stock in Children is a scholarship program also designed for disadvantaged students. As the name suggests, it is also based on the premise of investing in young people. Like the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, Take Stock in Children invests money and much more. The program begins early in high school (or before) and has a large mentoring component.
Take Stock in Children in Palm Beach County and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation have worked closely for years and this year have decided to merge their programs. In addition to the scholarships, the merged program will serve 600 in the high school system this year. This is just a start. Take Stock and the Foundation will work together to raise money in the community in order to increase that number.
In this week’s blog there are photographs of Take Stock and Johnson Scholars. Take a good look at these excellent young men and women. All of them will get scholarships to go to college and most of them will succeed. The secret to their success will be faith in themselves, not money.