Dr. Pollio surprises eight seniors with scholarships funded by JCPS employees

The recipients were awarded a total of $48,000 to help defray the cost of higher education 

Asha Reaves is surprised with an $11,000 scholarship on Friday. She already has 61 college credit hours and an associates degree from JCTC.

By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications

Friday morning started like any other for each of the eight seniors at Eastern, Waggener, Western, Butler, Shawnee and Central High Schools.

The students—Val Kukharskaya, Mahshad Taheri, Zeinab Hamado, Asha Reaves, Ashley Wright, DeNasha Turner, DeJa’Nae Jackson, and Kemo Camera—arrived at their respective schools and settled into their assignments for the day.

And then, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio appeared their classrooms, carrying balloons and a large scholarship check bearing their name.

“Congratulations,” he told them. “You have been awarded one of the first-ever scholarships funded by JCPS employees and other community members who believe in you and stand by you in your journey to further your education.”

Just over nine months ago, Pollio created the JCPS Employee-Sponsored Student Scholarship Fund as a way for district employees to invest in the futures of the students they serve. Employees were able to contribute to the fund through payroll deduction or by making an individual donation. 

VIDEO | Dr. Pollio surprises eight seniors with scholarships funded by JCPS employees

Val Kukharskaya, Eastern High

Graduating seniors with a cumulative 2.5 GPA and demonstrating financial need were eligible to apply for a scholarship through the Community Foundation of Louisville (CFL). A total of 116 applicants were matched through the foundation and then reviewed by a committee.

Finalists were named and then interviewed by Pollio and three other members of his administrative staff the week of May 13.

The first group of eight scholarship recipients were awarded a total of $48,000, with each amount determined by individual need. Three of the awards were $10,000 or more.

“These students had some incredible stories that I am so proud to support,” he said. “I am amazed at some of the hardships that our students go through yet persevere toward success.”

The scholarship money will be distributed to each of the student’s respective colleges or universities and can be used to help defray the cost of tuition, books, academic fees, and room and board expenses for on-campus housing.

“I truly believe that as administrators and educators, we have the power to influence positive change in our schools and communities,” Pollio said. “This is one more way we can help secure brighter futures for our children.”

Pollio told each of the eight students that he looks forward to seeing them graduate from college in the coming years and keeping up with their accomplishments.

“I hope that they will think of their time in JCPS when that moment comes,” he said.

The 2019 JCPS Employee-Sponsored Student Scholarship recipients include the following (use the hyperlinks to read their individual stories):

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