When Emmoni Morrisey, a senior at McKinley Technology High School, walked into class Wednesday morning, she didn’t expect to walk out with a full-ride scholarship to GW.
Morrisey was one of 10 D.C. high school students who received the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship, a full four-year scholarship to GW, on Wednesday. Members of their families, University President Steven Knapp, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Costas Solomou and the Colonial mascot surprised the high school students during class to tell them that they would receive full rides to the University.
Knapp made the announcement that she had earned the full-ride scholarship in front of Morrisey’s entire class and family. With tears in her eyes, Morrisey said that she was relieved to be able to attend school without fear of a financial burden.
“I’m completely overwhelmed, I’m elated,” she said. “I truly feel this is a blessing in disguise. I’m truly grateful because I didn’t know if this was gonna be me. God showed me that all things are possible.”
The program, created in 1989 to attract D.C. high school students to GW, was renamed the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship Program in 1999 after President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. The scholarship goes to about 10 D.C. high school students every spring for full tuition, room and board, books and fees.
Morrisey, who wants to study business administration, said that she is looking to the future with a different perspective and that she is confident this scholarship will only make her work harder.
“The financial burdens are 100 percent gone, that just relieves a lot of stress,” she said. “Now I have access to excel, nothing stopping me. I have no excuse to not excel and be the greatest Emmoni I can be. So, that just means, you know, a lot to me.”
Accompanied by her mother, father, grandmother and uncle, the family took a moment to hug, embrace one another and recognize her accomplishment.
Anthony Morrisey, Emmoni Morrisey’s uncle, said her family had been contacted about the scholarship ahead of time, but kept the news a secret from her so that it could be a surprise when she received the award in-person from Knapp.
“I’m kind of speechless. I’m very excited and happy for her,” Anthony Morrisey said. “My sister tells me last week, ‘she got it,’ and, you know, it was kinda hard keeping it a secret, and not telling her knowing that she had won.”
Byron Fullerton, a sophomore in the Corcoran School of Arts and Design who received the scholarship while he was in class at McKinley Tech two years ago, came back to the school to watch Morrisey’s experience.
“It’s really powerful. Especially seeing how it helped me and knowing how much it’s going to help her,” Fullerton said. “If it wasn’t for this school, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So it’s really powerful.”