Dr. Pollio surprises students at their homes with award blitz
May 20, 2020 – Four Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) seniors were awarded more than $80,000 from the JCPS Employee-Sponsored Student Scholarship Fund today, making it possible for them to attend and, in most cases, complete four years of higher education.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio surprised each of the recipients at their homes, delivering the news along with larger-than-life checks.
“I’m so proud of these students for overcoming incredible obstacles while maintaining their focus on education and making a difference in the world,” Dr. Pollio said. “Their message and stories of inspiration are exactly why we started the scholarship fund.”
Winners were selected from more than 130 applicants. As part of the selection process, finalists for the scholarships wrote personal statements, prepared presentations outlining their plans and financial needs, and took part in virtual interviews with Dr. Pollio and other JCPS administrators.
“We really wanted this scholarship to be impactful, and ensure that these dollars didn’t just help start them on their path but would help them secure their degree,” Dr. Pollio added. “For that reason, the scholarships aren’t a one-size-fits-all award. The amount of funding was really personalized to reflect their specific circumstances, and is catered to their individual stories and needs.”
Scholarship recipients include:
- Deja Andrews, Seneca High School, who received a total of $30,000. Deja plans to major in biology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she’ll be attending while living with and caring for her grandmother, who helped raise her.
- Gobinda Bastola, Fern Creek High School, who received a total of $20,000. Gobinda, who grew up in a refugee camp in Nepal, will attend the University of Louisville majoring in computer science. He hopes to create an app to help other teenagers find information on and access to colleges and scholarships.
- Zoe Clemmons, duPont Manual High School, who received a total of $24,800. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child and now mobile with a wheelchair, Zoe has overcome physical and other barriers in her life while excelling in school. She will attend the University of Louisville majoring in nursing to give back to the profession that supported her throughout her life.
- Saeedatu Nasara Shamsudeen, Central High School Magnet Career Academy, who received a total of $6,000. Nasara plans to attend the University of Louisville majoring in public health with a pre-med track. The Central High School senior was born in West Africa, Ghana, and was separated from her parents for six years until she came to the U.S. She graduates as class salutatorian.
This is the second year for the scholarships, which Dr. Pollio initiated shortly after he was hired as superintendent. Funding is raised through donations by JCPS employees and the State of the District Address luncheon. In just two years, more than $131,000 has been awarded.