Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Awards Over $525,000 in Scholarships to the TC Class of 2021
183 Seniors in ‘Generation Resilient’receive scholarships to help make college dreams become reality
ALEXANDRIA, VA JUNE 7, 2021– The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) awarded $525,000 in college scholarships to 183 graduating seniors from the T.C. Williams Class of 2021 during a virtual ceremony. This is the largest amount awarded for first-year scholarships in the organization’s 35-year program history.
SFA scholarships help students with financial need afford college and, importantly, they support students through all four years of college to help ensure they obtain their degree. The SFA will award an additional $550,000 in renewal scholarships to help past scholarship recipients from the Titan Classes of 2018-2020 during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. The renewal scholarships will be awarded later this summer. In total, the SFA will award well over $1 million in scholarships to TC Williams graduates and alumni during 2021.More than half of the students receiving scholarships are the first in their family to attend college.
Meet a few 2021 T.C. Williams Graduates & SFA Scholars
Sara Abbas Mikias Elias Karam Burjas Makayla Buster Leonel Naves
The 183 students receiving scholarships are heading to schools across the country, including Duke University, Spelman College, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, The College of William & Mary, Howard University James Madison University, University of Michigan, Northern Virginia Community College and Virginia State University to name a few. They will major in computer science, biology, pre-law, nursing and business among other subjects next year.
“I am so grateful and so honored to have been awarded a scholarship and I’m so proud of each and every one of you for being awarded one as well,” said Karam Burjas, TC senior class president and 2021 SFA Scholarship recipient. “I also want to give a big thank you to all of the donors and people who supported the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria this past year; without your gracious support none of this would’ve been possible. And I speak for all of the SFA Scholars when I say thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” added Burjas, who was selected by his fellow 2021 scholarship recipients to address the audience during the ceremony.
“We are so very proud of the next generation of nurses, doctors, business leaders, computer scientists, biologists, and professors who are heading off to college this fall thanks to the generosity of this community,” said Beth Lovain, SFA Executive Director. “What I want to convey most is that in a year wrought with challenges, our Class of 2021 SFA Scholars have not only endured, but they have triumphed. They are truly ‘Generation Resilient.’ Through all of the adversity and through all of the challenges of COVID and 2021 they have remained poised and focused; their college dreams would not be pushed aside. We are so proud to honor and celebrate them and their remarkable achievements and resilience tonight, and are so very grateful to our many generous supporters who make these scholarships possible.”
The SFA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization providing scholarships and financial aid advising to students of Alexandria City Public Schools. Since 1986, SFA has awarded $17 million in scholarships, making college dreams become reality for more than 5,000 students. More information can be found at www.alexscholarshipfund.org.
Class of 2021 Scholarship Recipient Highlights:
Note:High resolution photos of highlighted recipients available upon request. A full list of 2021 scholarship recipients follows below the highlights.
SARA ABBAS— Recipient of the Titans in Tech Scholarship. Sara will study computer science next fall thanks to this $40,000 scholarship, one of SFA’s top scholarships, that will support her through four years at Virginia Tech. She began her ACPS career at William Ramsay Elementary School and was an outstanding student at T.C. Williams over the last four years carrying a heavy course load of AP and DE classes. She served as vice-president of the Future Business Leaders of America at TC, as a TechGirlBoss Ambassador, an Arabic tutor, teaching assistant and Treasurer of the National Society of Black Engineers’ T.C. chapter. She is the first generation in her family to attend college. Sara wants to help break down barriers for girls who are POC and are interested in studying computer science.
KARAMBURJAS – Recipient of the Walter Scott Downs Memorial Scholarship. Karam, who began his ACPS career at James Polk Elementary, will be receiving a $15,000 scholarship over four years that will take him to Temple University studying government, political science and public service. At TC, Karam was Student Government class president during junior and senior year, president of the Fashion Club, active in drama, a DECA award winner, winner of the DAR Good Citizens Award, juggled a load of AP and DE classes and carried above a 4.0 GPA. His teachers say, Karam’shigh achievement demonstrates ambition that will carry him throughout life and will prove to be invaluable. Inside of school he always actively participated in class discussions and contributed unique perspectives that challenged his classmates. He demonstrated bravery in these discussions by having the courage to stand up for what he believed in.
MIKIAS ELIAS — Recipient of the Collis Warner Family Foundation Scholarship. Mikias, who began his career at ACPS at Patrick Ramsay Elementary School, is the recipient of one of our largest scholarships this year worth $40,000 over 4 years. Mikias will study mechanical engineering at the School of Engineering at Virginia Tech next fall. Mikias’ parents came to America from Ethiopia to build a better life for their children. Mikias, a member of the crew team and an honors and AP student, credits TC Crew with helping him push forward during difficult times in high school. He has overcome personal challenges with grace and truly amazing resilience. He works part time, helps lead childrens’ bible study at his church during the school year, and works in construction in the summer. His teachers have observed that his parents’ strong work ethic has served him well. He is known at TC for constantly looking for ways to better himself, and for always making education a priority.
LEONEL NAVES — Recipient of the SFA Alexandria Retired Teachers ScholarshipLeonel, the first generation in his family to attend college, will use this$10,000 scholarship to begin working toward a degree in education at NOVA Community College next fall. Leonel’s family left El Salvador for the U.S. when he was 14 and he works full time outside of school to help support his family. He wants to pursue a career in teaching to help other students and particularly immigrant students new to the US and at T.C. He has been a leader and mentor for younger kids in the TC International Academy. He plans to follow the NOVA Pathways program – 2 years at NOVA and then transfer to a 4-year program. Leonel is lauded as a natural leader and an intelligent, hard-working student who willingly and joyously helps others. Leonel stated, “This scholarship would help me a lot because it means that I can start classes right away in college and not wait until I save the money to pay for the classes. This scholarship would change everything for me.”
2021 SFA Scholarship Recipients and financial supporters of scholarships gathered on Zoom to celebrate the awarding of 183 college scholarships to 2021 Titan graduates on June 3, 2021.
2021 SFA Scholarship Recipients & Titan Graduates:
Kimberly Adu Poku
Alyss Espinoza Sanchez
Seth Jan Medina
Bibi Ayisha Mohsini
Rocio Ramos Arias
Nicole Revah Tacher
Santos Rosales Reyes
Ashley Marie Sanchez-Viafara
Abigail St. Jean
Irma Valle Flores
Andres Zelaya Macoto