High-Achieving African-American and Black MCPS High School Students Reach for a ‘STAR’ and Win Scholarships

Three hundred and thirty-five outstanding African-American and black students from Montgomery County Public Schools are recipients of this year’s awards from the STAR (Stand Tall and Reach) Scholarship Foundation. The awards will be presented at the Eighth Annual STAR-Montgomery Awards Luncheon Saturday, June 20 at 11:30 a.m. at the Universities at Shady Grove. The guest speaker will be Dr. Monica Brown, dean of student development on the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College.

Awards of $1,000 or $250 went to 262 students, for a total of $149,500 in scholarship awards. An additional 73 students received certificates of merit. Scholarship recipients maintained a minimum 3.0 grade point average and participated in extracurricular activities such as community service or employment. Students submitted an application, essay, and recommendations, and the finalists were interviewed.

The STAR Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation that was started and initially funded in 1992 by Paul Peck. STAR is all volunteer and over 98% of all money goes to scholarships. Peck has extended STAR into Washington DC; Oakland, CA; Richmond, VA; and Arlington County, VA. To date, the STAR Scholarship Foundation has awarded over $1.01 million in merit scholarships and merit awards.

STAR Scholarships are provided for both academic and vocational education. They are based on merit and the competition is intense. African-American and black high school students can compete annually for scholarships in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades, giving them the potential to earn up to $3,000 toward their education, by winning the scholarship for three consecutive years. When a student wins a scholarship, the money is held in trust by the STAR Scholarship Foundation until the student enrolls in an accredited college or trade school.

Program founder and benefactor Paul Peck, a local philanthropist who serves as chair and CEO of the STAR Scholarship Foundation, provided the original seed money for Montgomery County. Additional funding is generated by the STAR Montgomery Advisory Board. MCPS provides administrative assistance, along with Montgomery College.

“Education works,” said Paul Peck. “It is the foundation of skills, self-esteem and self-confidence. I created STAR to demonstrate to African-American students that there is hope, the community cares, and studying pays.” In 2002, Mr. Peck expanded the STAR initiative by creating and funding STAR Merit Awards to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

For more information about the STAR Scholarship awards program, please call Dr. Clarice Somersall of Montgomery College at 240-567-1702; e-mail clarice.somersall@montgomerycollege.edu.


2009 STAR Award Recipients

Note: A “*” next to the recipient’s name indicates a 2-Year award recipient; “**” indicates a 3-Year award recipient.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase H.S. (22): Adam Pereira ($1000), Alanna Diggs* (Certificate of Merit), Anton Spencer* ($1000), Briajani West ($250), Brianna Crayton** ($250), Danielle Harkaway ($1000), Erica Turner ($250), Ernest Eiras-Saunders* ($1000), Ian Weaver (Certificate of Merit), Ibrahima Ba (Certificate of Merit), Kristina Graham-Jackson ($250), Langston Brown** ($250), Luis Bowser ($1000), Nicole Manu ($250), Nigel Crayton (Certificate of Merit), Olivia Stewart* ($1000), Owyn Manson* ($250), Philip Brooks (Certificate of Merit), Rosalie Ebongo-Bayehe ($250), Shawnte Wright* ($1000), Taylor Smith** ($1000), Zoe Thorpe* (Certificate of Merit)

Blair H.S. (7): Binta Ceesay ($250), Hana Bekele (Certificate of Merit), Sara Bekele ($250), Sekou Sangare ($250), Shawnecca Burke* ($1000), Sizana Ezana ($1000), Sydney Smith* ($1000)

Blake H.S. (16): Akaninyene Umo ($250), Alex Wells, Iv ($250), Amarachi Nnadi (Certificate of Merit), Cadijah Walcott ($1000), Danielle Moore ($250), Derek Houston (Certificate of Merit), Devon Johnson (Certificate of Merit), Grace Mlingi ($250), Holland Broadus* ($1000), Isak Shah ($1000), Jasmine Walker ($250), Jazmine Dandridge ($1000), Kimberly Torchenot ($250), Maya Campbell* ($1000), Michael Mugo ($250), Nicole Oakley (Certificate of Merit)

Churchill H.S. (16): Abigail Jackson (Certificate of Merit), Adrian Oppong* ($250), Brandon Swepson ($1000), Christine Hildreth ($250), Collins Kenlak ($250), Jonae Lloyd* ($1000), Katrina Ragland (Certificate of Merit), Kimberley Nidah (Certificate of Merit), Kyree Clark ($1000), Lauren Harris ($250), Melyncia Martin* (Certificate of Merit), Michael Sewell (Certificate of Merit), Michael Tizale ($250), Paapa Nyanin ($250), Rachel Bonaparte ($250), Talin Hill* ($1000)

Clarksburg H.S. (9): Adrianna Glover ($250), Kelsey Nelson* ($1000), Kevin Essien ($1000), Natasha Knuckles* ($250), Omari Muhammad ($250), Rachel Johnson ($250), Serge Amouzou (Certificate of Merit), Sydney Montgomery ($250), Tobenna Okocha (Certificate of Merit)

Einstein H.S. (2): Lacey Coleman ($1000), Sisi Reid ($250)

Gaithersburg H.S. (19): Aniekanabasi Ufot (Certificate of Merit), Awa Secka (Certificate of Merit), Bilen Tenna ($1000), Cedric Kouakam ($250), Devin Taylor ($250), Dolly Maiah ($250), Hagere Yilma ($250), Jersie Mbu ($250), Jhonell Campbell ($250), Joanne Angbazo (Certificate of Merit), John Kouakam ($250), Jordan Kemp (Certificate of Merit), Jordyn Chesley ($1000), Laura Hopkins ($1000), Taylor Kemp** (Certificate of Merit), Trever Reed ($250), Vera Damanka ($1000), Victor Dzikunu ($1000), Victoria Hunte (Certificate of Merit)

Kennedy H.S. (25): Allyn Achah (Certificate of Merit), Amani Bisle (Certificate of Merit), Armando Sullivan** ($1000), Beacon Yitbarek ($250), Bowei Oki ($250), Dami Smith-Kayode ($250), Edna Miller (Certificate of Merit), Fanaye Zewdu ($250), Farouq Lule ($250), Inongo Agbormbai ($250), Josline Ali-Napo ($250), Joye Parker ($250), Kelley Davis ($1000), Kendra Battle ($250), Lauryn Cofer (Certificate of Merit), Maria Nkwanzi ($250), Maryam Ramadhan (Certificate of Merit), Michael Edimo ($250), Nanette Nunu ($250), Nicole N’Gambwa ($250), Nikita Koene ($1000), Nimat Traore ($250), Philemon Dawit ($1000), Sarah Gizaw* (Certificate of Merit), Tierra Baker (Certificate of Merit)

Magruder H.S. (3): Brittney Bonhomme ($1000), Joseph Bonhomme ($250), Mameakua Adjei (Certificate of Merit)

Northwest H.S. (15): Alana Rule** ($1000), Amanda Ezigbo ($250), Amanda King** ($250), Aminata Bah* ($250), Andrew Kyeremeh ($1000), Christin Riddick* ($1000), Jennifer Coates ($250), Malik Gerdes ($1000), Mathilda Chanakira (Certificate of Merit), Nicole Wright (Certificate of Merit), Priscillia Nlend (Certificate of Merit), Randall Markush-Hallma (Certificate of Merit), Sara Abdelnour ($250), Sheldon Trotman ($250), Yohannes Ghenbot ($1000)

Northwood H.S. (6): Kyle Louviere ($1000), Mesert Gizaw (Certificate of Merit), Minette Achankeng ($250), Nicole Richardson ($1000), Tonimaria Hawkins (Certificate of Merit), Tsion Seifu ($250)

Paint Branch H.S. (25): Abigia Yitagesu ($250), Aji Drammeh (Certificate of Merit), Amaka Ezeani ($250), Ariam Tesfai ($250), Blake Bass ($250), Cherisse Lewis ($250), Cynthia Njafuh (Certificate of Merit), Devan Daniel ($250), Gifty Dominah ($1000), Jalen Swain ($250), Jenai Carter ($250), Jermainia Nkwain ($1000), Joycelyn Akamune ($250), Latonya Simon* ($1000), Lois Hammond ($250), Mariame Sylla ($250), Marie-Stella Addo ($250), Mayowa Balogun ($1000), Mobolanie Adevbesin (Certificate of Merit), Olusola Awojoodu ($250), Sharon Khama ($250), Sonia Djampouop ($1000), Sope Aluko ($250), Trishia Faulkner ($250), Valerie Acheampong (Certificate of Merit)

Poolesville H.S. (7): Blen Girmay ($1000), Jonique Lyles ($250), Marilyam Osheidu ($250), Michelle Byamugisha** ($1000), Samuel Adedeji ($250), Tariq Beidleman (Certificate of Merit), Tishina Tittley ($1000)

Quince Orchard H.S. (9): Allyah Koroma ($250), Amber Summerour ($1000), Ciara Braxton ($250), Crystal Adams* ($250), Emmanuel Ibitowa (Certificate of Merit), Gloria Kissiedu (Certificate of Merit), Grace Mutuku* ($1000), Sindiswa Odharo ($1000), Yohanna Bellistri ($250)

Richard Montgomery H.S. (7): Alexandra Mcgee ($1000), Janet Mwebi** ($1000), Japhet Mwebi* ($1000), Opeyemi Awe* ($1000), Raissa Horimere ($1000), Tatios Kebrab* ($250), Zaena Tessema* ($250)

Rockville H.S. (8): Ilhan Alio* ($250), Kwamboka Makana ($250), Nicholas Darrell ($250), Panaya Abebe ($250), Samantha Brandon (Certificate of Merit), Taryn Bailey ($1000), Vivian Chisolm ($250), Zoe Hill ($1000)

Seneca Valley H.S. (14): Alicia Mills ($250), Bereket Mamo (Certificate of Merit), Brianna Braswell ($1000), Chanken Awasom* ($250), Colombe Mongbo ($250), Joseph Cudjoe (Certificate of Merit), Lionel Kenmegne ($1000), Marisa Tukpah* ($1000), Marysa Manleu ($250), Selorm Quist* ($250), Theodora Conteh* (Certificate of Merit), Tiana Pluck ($1000), Timothy Alston* ($1000), Tonia Nicol* ($1000)

Sherwood H.S. (28): Akram Hussein ($250), Amanda Harrington ($250), Ashley Glasper ($250), Bethel Yemehshwa ($250), Caroline Yarwhere ($250), Chukwuemeka Opara* ($1000), Daniel Tefera (Certificate of Merit), Eseigboria Ikheloa ($1000), James Mbony ($1000), Jasmin Kondjang (Certificate of Merit), Josie Wantee* ($250), Kayla Robinson* ($1000), Kendall Thomas* ($1000), Kenny Francique (Certificate of Merit), Kymani Nahar (Certificate of Merit), Lauren Lee* ($250), Lenzy Johnson Iii (Certificate of Merit), Matthew Smith* ($1000), Maya Hester* ($250), Ndel Rostant (Certificate of Merit), Orlyse Mballa ($1000), Sean Hitchinson (Certificate of Merit), Sekratos Rahsay ($250), Stacy Delapenha ($1000), Taylor Trombley ($250), Tewodros Samson* (Certificate of Merit), Thomas Wilkerson Iii ($250), Tuna Karnley ($250)

Springbrook H.S. (48): Adanna Nwaro ($250), Alan Adebayo* ($250), Brandi Rosser* ($1000), Brittany Lambert ($250), Cadiesha Mckenly* ($1000), Caitlin Barnes (Certificate of Merit), Chanell Dunham* ($1000), Chantal Bowlah ($1000), Charles Mwalimu** ($1000), Crystalee Campbell (Certificate of Merit), Dara Wilson ($1000), Darrell N’Guessan-Gbe ($1000), Eden Ejigineh* ($1000), Erica Hughes* ($1000), Eunice Ahaghotu* ($1000), Evy Zifac ($250), Faven Mesfin ($250), Jalen Dawson ($250), Jeremy Dow (Certificate of Merit), Jessica Sawadogo** ($1000), Jose Jackson ($250), Katerra Jones* (Certificate of Merit), Kendra Reid (Certificate of Merit), Kevin Mack* ($1000), Kirsten White ($250), Labria Williams ($250), Lammi Asrat ($1000), Landry Horimbere* ($1000), Meron Kebede ($250), Micah Brown ($1000), Mickyas Girma* ($250), Nahika Blanchet* ($250), Nancy Toure ($250), Nicole Burkhalter ($1000), Nicole Roper* ($1000), Oluseun Akande* ($1000), Onyinyechuku Nwokorie* ($250), Rajan Negassa ($250), Rodney Kizito** ($1000), Sanyu Nsubuga (Certificate of Merit), Sterling Bowers ($250), Taera Asrat ($1000), Tashi Edwards* ($1000), Tylar Celestin (Certificate of Merit), Udeme Akpaete ($1000), Ursula Nguessan-Gbe ($250), Vladimir Alphonse ($1000), Yowhens Semaie* ($250)

Walter Johnson H.S. (10): Alexandra Duala Dolegui ($250), Catrina Johnson ($1000), Christina Brown ($250), Elena Rios (Certificate of Merit), Henry Dorbu Jr ($1000), Leon Nwankwo* ($1000), Lukwesa Morin ($250), Meiraf Zekaryas ($250), Ronique Taffe** ($1000), Stefany Carty* ($1000)

Watkins Mill H.S. (23): Ajoa Asonye ($250), Alexandria Johnson ($1000), manoshokunu Filani ($250), Andrew Afful ($250), Arabhis Nicholson ($250), Ashley Cleveland ($250), Devinn Esberry ($250), Elvire Desouza* ($250), Fahrina Muntaka ($1000), Jasmine Phillips ($1000), John Allen (Certificate of Merit), Mariatu Fornah (Certificate of Merit), Marsha Richard (Certificate of Merit), Nebiat Asmamaw* ($250), Pearl Tenny* ($1000), Qaren Quartey* ($1000), Ruel Fiffee ($250), Shaakira Lindsey ($1000), Soraya Anderson (Certificate of Merit), Spencer Williams ($250), William Hamilton-Schools ($250), Youanidou Thiaw* ($1000), Zoe Afful (Certificate of Merit)

Wheaton H.S. (11): Abel Gizaw ($250), Aiyda Akmel (Certificate of Merit), Bruktawit Abebe Ketema (Certificate of Merit), Dagmawi Jiru ($250), Hurlere Ndjoussi (Certificate of Merit), Katyana Desjarins ($250), Leuk Woldeyohannes ($1000), Monica Gutierrez ($1000), Nandita Hinds ($250), Safiya Correia ($250), Yahannes Ejigu ($250)

Whitman H.S. (5): Arielle Ibanez ($1000), Elena Aragon ($250), Isaama Stoll** ($1000), Jamila Crossman ($1000), Naomi Stoll ($250)