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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
ArlingtonNAACP aims for long-term relationships with scholarship winners

NAACP aims for long-term relationships with scholarship winners

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When it comes to awarding scholarships, the Arlington branch of the NAACP wants the relationship between itself and recipients not just to be a one-time event, but the start of a long and fruitful partnership.

The goal is to “make sure that students have the funding, but also make sure that students have the support” for success, said Adora Williams, who serves on the branch’s scholarship committee, at a July 31 online event lauding new recipients of scholarship funding.

Five students received college scholarships, including Zoe Davis, a recent Yorktown High School grad who is headed to North Carolina A&T State University, where she aims to major in animal science.

Davis noted that she is afflicted with sickle-cell anemia, but she’s able to advocate for herself. Animals, however, can’t do the same.

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“I want to be part of the process that helps animals out and gets them the help that they need,” she said.

Joining Davis as recipients of the Arlington Branch Future Leaders Scholarship were Sara Berhe-Abraha, a Washington-Liberty High School graduate who will attend Pomona College, and Belan Yeshigeta, a Washington-Liberty graduate who will be attending Columbia University.

(Yeshigeta received a full-ride scholarship and as a result declined the NAACP’s financial support, but was still honored with the Future Leaders honor.)

Also celebrated were Mashrab Zaman and Jahzira Harvey, who received Arlington Branch One-Time Scholarships to support their studies at George Mason University.

During the event, the new recipients received words of advice and encouragement from Leah Evans, who received an NAACP stipend in 2013 and now serves on the scholarship committee.

“College will be such a novel experience,” she told the students. “Remain positive and hopeful. You have all the time in the world – failure is just a pit stop on the road to success. Get up and keep moving forward.”
It was a theme echoed by Sherrice Kerns, second vice president of the Arlington branch.

“It’s not the mistakes, it’s how you rebound,” she said. “Everybody is committed to your success. You belong – you are where you are because you worked and you earned it.”

NAACP branch president J.D. Spain Sr. said the organization had worked hard to ramp up its scholarship program over the past year. “I’m happy we were able to aid and assist,” he told scholarship recipients.

The scholarship effort receives backing from many sources, but its primary benefactors are Amazon and the Willard Woodson Brittain Jr. Foundation.

“This program doesn’t work, doesn’t serve our community, without our donors,” Williams said at the event. “We couldn’t do this without you.”
Evans reminded students that college wasn’t just there for the learning (and fun), but to provide opportunities to build skills that will last a lifetime.

“Make the most of it,” she said of the experience. “Make a positive impact, leave it better than you found it. You are destined to do great things.”

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