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April 2020

Scholarship Plus has a new class- thanks to Zoom!

Kate Fenneman Stokes, our executive director, led the introductions, and there were brief words about the program and its history from our founders, Soma Golden Behr and Melanie Rosen Brooks.  The new scholars were then asked to name their high schools and the colleges they were attending (or in some cases the colleges they were deciding between or among) and to mention something about themselves that the others would have no way of knowing.  As each frame on the Zoom screen lit up in sequence, one student said she loved badminton, another said “I’m from Argentina, but I’m not that good at soccer.” Another preferred basketball, saying, “I’m 5”9”, but I’m just an inch away from dunking.” “I built a skateboard once,” said one student.  “Did it work,” asked a questioner? “Define ‘work,’ “came the reply.

Several in the group had already received welcome packages from the schools that had admitted them.  So one student wore a University of Chicago cap, another had one from Harvard and a third waved a Chicago pennant.  

Kate briefly described the way our usual summer program worked, with its internships and outings to Broadway plays and other cultural experiences.  Just what form that will take this year, she said, is uncertain. What remains unchanged are things that those associated with the program shorthand as crucial: “the Plus” in Scholarship Plus.  “We figure out ways to help you over whatever hurdle has happened,” Kate said. Anna Antoniak, the program’s senior director, added: “You are truly never in trouble with us. Don’t worry about coming to us when you are worried or unsure.”  

Much remains unclear, including the shape of the summer.  But we have a new class of scholars, different from earlier classes in details, but alike in having already shown resolute determination, solid accomplishments and infinite promise.  

Next: Staying on Track and Finishing Strong