WEB EXCLUSIVE: GW awards full scholarship to local high schoolers

GW surprised seven D.C. high school students Tuesday with Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarships. The University awarded four-year scholarships, valued at more than $138,000 each, to students from five District high schools.

The admissions office chose the students from about 40 applicants, said Sammie Robinson, associate director of admissions.

“It was so wonderful to see the surprise on their faces,” said Gretchen King, director of Media Relations.

School Without Walls student Jeanny Lee, who received a GW scholarship recipient, said she was surprised by award.

“They announced my friend’s name and it looked like they were going to turn around and go,” she said. “But then they announced my name. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever felt like that.”

Just like its regular application process, GW’s Office of Admissions chooses the strongest students for scholarships based on class rank, grade point average, SAT scores and extracurricular activities, Robinson said. The scholarships cover tuition, room and board, books and fees. Recipients can also apply for other grants and work-study programs, including the D.C. Tuition Access Grant, which provides $2,500, Robinson said.

“Not all will matriculate at GW,” Robinson said.

Most students who received the scholarships are looking at a variety of other schools, including Ivy League schools, Robinson said. A good number of recipients have enrolled at GW, Robinson said, adding that he hopes at least five out of the seven will attend GW.

Lee, who ranks second in her class, said she will likely attend GW and is grateful for the opportunity the scholarship gives her. She has taken many classes at GW already, including physics and sociology.

“It would be good to get away since I grew up here,” Lee said. “(But) I like the urban environment and think I might stay here after all.”

Lee said she also applied to New York University and Swarthmore and Smith colleges.

“I was excited to say the least,” said Isaiah Bruce Pickens, another School Without Walls recipient. “I saw all these cameras and I was like `whoa.'”

Pickens said GW is his top choice because “it’s where the full ride is.” He also applied to Georgetown, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Princeton University and Davidson College.

Robinson said presenting the students with the scholarships is “a blast.”
“It’s probably the most enjoyable part of my job,” he said. “The students are very surprised and excited . especially to have Little George there.”

The program began in 1989, providing scholarships annually totaling $7.7 million, according to a University press release. It has made GW the largest single post-secondary contributor of aid to D.C. Public Schools for the last eight years.

Other winners include Ashley Nicole Gordon and Mariamawit Tamerat from Benjamin Banneker High School, Rachelle T. Odom from Eastern High School, Greisy E. Fledi from Theodore Roosevelt High School and Lisa Mueller of Woodrow Wilson High School.

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