SHC 2020 Scholars Announced

It is our pleasure to announce SchoolHouse Connection’s 2020 scholar class:

At SchoolHouse Connection, one of our guiding principles is that young people are the experts on their experiences, needs, and strengths. We also recognize that students experiencing homelessness often face barriers in accessing higher education. Our Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program is a competitive national scholarship program that provides 10 scholarships each year to students who have experienced homelessness, to ensure their access to and completion of a post-secondary education program. Through this program, students are provided with a $2,000 scholarship; assistance in accessing resources such as financial aid, mental health, and legal advocacy; a strong, stable peer and adult support network; and opportunities to engage in meaningful advocacy. Our overall goal for the Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program is to provide sustained support to see students to and through college and into the workforce.

2020 National Awards Ceremony

On March 2nd, SchoolHouse Connection welcomed ten new scholars from across the nation into our SHC family. 

These incredible young people joined SchoolHouse Connection staff, peer leaders, and volunteers for a weekend full of meaningful connections, powerful sharing, and lots of fun. We kicked off the weekend with a tour of Georgetown University led by Jillian Sitjar, SHC’s Higher Education Program Manager. During the tour, scholars had an opportunity to ask questions about higher education, and to experience what it is like to be on a college campus. After the tour, we explored the Georgetown waterfront shops, ate a delicious dinner, and had the best time ice skating at the Washington Harbour Ice Rink. 

The following day, we explored the National Mall and the nearby museums. A highlight was going to the top of the Washington Monument and getting dessert at Captain Cookie and the Milkman. On our third day, the scholars were recognized during a plenary session at the National Summit on Youth Homelessness, organized by the National Network for Youth.  Our scholars also presented a concurrent session entitled “Voices” where they shared their experiences and wisdom with conference attendees. During this session, the students shared valuable insights, including asking that professionals be mindful of the signs a student may be experiencing homelessness, be knowledgeable of key resources in order to provide more than just an “it’s going to be ok,” and be trauma-informed in building relationships and responding to crises. After the Voices presentation, the scholars departed for lunch, spent time on the waterfront at The Wharf, and a nighttime monument walk. 

During the monument walk, one of our scholars stopped and said: “I wasn’t expecting this trip to go how it did. It’s crazy how we just met four days ago, but this really feels like family.” We are incredibly proud of what our 2020 scholars have already accomplished, and we are excited to walk with them, to support them, and to learn from them as they graduate high school and begin college.

Note: The application for our 2021 scholarship will go live in early May 2020; please stay tuned for that announcement.