Skip to main content

Posts

Johnson Scholars Program Helps 110 from Class of 2021 Go to College

The Johnson Scholars Program of the School District of Palm Beach County is celebrating its 110 graduates of the class of 2021 who earned scholarships as a jumpstart to their post-secondary careers.  This year 100 percent of the program’s seniors will graduate with a guaranteed 2-Year Florida Prepaid Scholarship.  Each also accomplished 100 percent completion of their College Readiness Portfolios, successfully earning their college readiness graduation cords.

Working with Take Stock in Children (TSIC) in providing more than 500 students with college readiness, mentorship, and social emotional support has exposed many of our students to further opportunities to ensure access to their post-secondary dreams of attending a college or university.  TSIC boasts providing this year’s class of graduates with nearly $1 million in scholarships. Many top scholars throughout Palm Beach County of the Johnson Scholars Program and Take Stock in Children collaboration earned prestigious scholarship awards, including the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarship, George Snow Scholarship, FAU’s Kelly/Strul Scholarship, TeamWork Education Foundation, Leaders 4 Life, QuestBridge, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarships.  The Johnson Scholars Program and Take Stock in Children will continue to support these scholars as they work toward completion of their post-secondary education.

We congratulate all of our scholars from the Class of 2021!

Dustin LaPlatte

Florida Bright Futures recipients: Katherine Benedetti, Boca Raton High School, attending Valencia College; Chanelle Brown, John I. Leonard High School, attending Palm Beach State College; Daniel Dorvil, FAU High School, attending Florida Atlantic University; Ysabel Fierro, Santaluces High School, attending Florida International University; Antoine Garvey, Atlantic High School, attending Florida Atlantic University; Dustin LaPlatte, Jupiter High School, attending University of Florida; Melanie Rivera, Jupiter High School, attending Florida State University; Robertha Sainvil, Palm Beach Gardens High School, attending Florida International University; Varun Toot, Forest Hill High School, attending Nova Southeastern University; Valeria Urrego-Hernandez, Jupiter High School, attending University of Florida.

Hana Ali

Community Foundation Scholarship  recipients: Hana Ali, Lake Worth High School, attending University of Florida, Itzel Diez,  Glades Central High School, attending Florida State University; Annabelle Garcia, Lake Worth High School, attending Palm Beach State College; Osinachi Nwosu, Lake Worth High School, attending University of Chicago; Micaela Miguel Ramirez, Lake Worth High School, attending University of Florida; Khurram Shams, Lake Worth High School, attending University of Florida.

Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarship recipients of the University of Florida: Hana Ali, Lake Worth High School; Dustin LaPlatte, Jupiter High School; Khurram Shams, Lake Worth High School; Valeria Urrego-Hernandez, Jupiter High School.

George Snow Scholarship recipient: Rebecca Siverain, Pahokee High School, attending Lindenwood University.

Rebecca Siverain

Take Stock in Children Leaders 4 Life Scholarship and Quest Bridge Scholarship recipient: Jasmine Calderon, Pahokee High School, attending Emory University.

Team Work Education Foundation Scholarship recipients: Gerardo Albor, Glades Central High School, attending Palm Beach State College; Hana Ali, Lake Worth High School, attending University of Florida; Dustin LaPlatte, Jupiter High School, attending University of Florida; Macaela Miguel Rameriz, Lake Worth High School, attending Florida State University; Pamela Perez, Pahokee High School, attending Palm Beach State College; Jason Sargento-Guzman, Lake Worth High School, attending University of North Florida; Varun Toot, Forest Hill High School, attending Nova Southeastern University.

Victoria Armand

Florida Atlantic University Kelly/Strul Scholarship recipient: Victoria Armand, Santaluces High School, attending Florida Atlantic University.

 


Gbolade George is a Resource Teacher with the School District of Palm Beach County’s Johnson Scholars/Take Stock program.

Behind JSF’s Mandate of Service: The Individuals Who Serve

She was too choked up to talk. I couldn’t see her face because I was sitting behind her on the stage. I really wasn’t sure if she would stand at the podium in silence, fighting to catch her breath or ramble for ten minutes. Either way it wouldn’t matter. She had the undivided attention of everyone. It was not for the promise of an inspiring message, nor the VIP status bestowed on her at the event. Neither the highest-ranking public official nor the gifted keynote speaker would come close to garnering the focus of the students in the audience as she would. She commanded the grateful reverence of those in attendance because of the genuine relationships she had built with them over the years, and you could see it on their faces.

a woman standing at a lectern with a man in the background behind her

Wanda Kirby, who is retiring from the Palm Beach County School District, receives a hand with lowering her microphone from colleague Gbolade George during the Johnson Scholars/Take Stock in Children graduation ceremony earlier this month in suburban West Palm Beach, Florida. Photos by Coastal Click Photography.

Wanda Kirby had served these disadvantaged high school students through the Palm Beach County School District’s Johnson Scholars/Take Stock in Children Program, and many of them had reached this graduation milestone because of her work. Tonight, she was retiring.

Foundation work can sometimes feel removed from the people we serve. The stewardship of our organization through committee service, letters of inquiry, applications and reports does not directly connect us to the individuals we serve … but the Wandas do.

It’s a common denominator we find in many of our grantee partners – individuals whose personal investment is almost immeasurable, except in terms of graduations, college acceptances, job offers, and personal growth of the young people they’ve assisted.

I think of Dr. Leslie Pendleton, who leads University of Florida’s first-generation student success program. She knew that first-generation students needed guidance not for their academics but for life outside the classroom.

Paul J. Adams III, executive chairman and founder of Providence St. Mel School, says “It’s not rocket science” about the success of the 42-year-old school on Chicago’s west side. Maybe not rocket science, but an undying commitment to high expectations, accountability, strong curriculum and good instruction.

J. Curtis Warner, Jr., was the founder and architect of the Berklee College of Music City Music Program. The program brings inner-city middle and high school students from Boston to Berklee for a collegiate experience and mentoring. The program is now being replicated around the country.

Our partnerships with grantees link us to the people we serve. Our work is most effective and fulfilling when we view it through the lens of that service to people.

The work of Wanda Kirby, Leslie Pendleton, Paul J. Adams III, J. Curtis Warner, Jr. and so many others reflects JSF’s mandate of serving disadvantaged people at its best. In the JSF family, we have all had the experience of seeing first-hand the fruit of that service.


Bobby Krause is CEO of Johnson Scholarship Foundation.