Houston Independent School District graduating seniors who have overcome odds and adversity to achieve their academic goals were honored at the annual HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholarship Dinner on Wednesday evening.
At the dinner, which was held at the Cockrell Boy Scouts Center, each of the 46 award recipients and their families were treated to a dinner and reception hosted by ABC 13 reporter Stefania Okolie. Kinder HSPVA senior Racquel Leonard performed a gorgeous rendition of Disney’s “I’m Almost There.”
After the performance, Leonard, who will attend Loyola University in the fall to study music, was surprised with her own HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Award. The scholarship, originally worth $2,000, was increased to $5,000 after HISD’s Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan learned that Leonard was short on her tuition.
“Sometimes, you don’t know where your blessings are going to come from, but it’s coming,” Lathan said during the surprise. “Stay the course, do right by people, treat people right, reach back, give back, help someone else, and a door will open for you.”
HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Awards, in the amount of $2,000, are presented annually to graduating seniors who have exemplified great character and resilience in the face of adversity. However, moved by their stories of overcoming great obstacles, Superintendent Lathan selected 10 HISD seniors to receive $5,000 scholarships. To learn more about the 10 seniors selected, click here.
According to Assistant Superintendent for College Readiness David Johnston, the scholarship dinner, which is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, is not only an opportunity to recognize the success of these students but a chance to remind them that those in the district will always there for them.
“Don’t forget, we are your belayers — we are your support system long after you leave HISD,” Johnston said. “Keep in touch. Reach out for support when things get tough and know that we are cheering you on every step of the way.”