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    Graduating Seniors Share Stories and Advice
    Posted on 06/22/2018
    Students wait in line during graduation ceremony

    Three of the 26 Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund Recipients Share Stories and Advice

    The Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund celebrates and honors graduating seniors each year for their personal tenacity, contribution to their communities and academic accomplishments.

    In 2018, the scholarship award was increased to help students cover rising costs of higher education opportunities. The $3,500 scholarships are awarded to students each year for tuition expenses at any college, university or vocational training of the student's choice.

    Larry Pope poses for a photoStudent: Larry Pope
    High School: South Lake High School
    Post-Secondary Institution: Alcorn State University (Alcorn, Miss.)

    Larry Pope is accustomed to setting his eye on the prize and earning it.

    Graduation was one milestone, and the South Lake High scholar is now setting his sights on another. “I will be attending Alcorn State University in the fall to study financial risk management.”

    For Pope, reaching this celebratory moment required him to remain steadfastly focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. His counselor, Dr. Beverly Luster, found Pope’s follow-through on his commitments extremely commendable. “He took the priority,” Dr. Luster said. “He took the initiative, and he went after it to finish high school and now go on to college.”

    The graduate shared that if there was any advice he would give his younger self, it would be: “Keep your eye on the prize. It’s closer than you think it is.”

    Pope and Dr. Luster both expressed their gratitude for teachers, staff, community organizations and community members. “It takes a whole village to get to this point,” said Dr. Luster. “Constant progress monitoring, checking in and establishing that consistency helps so much with our students. I tell my students all the time, ‘I got you covered.’”

    Natalie Saylors poses for a photoStudent: Natalie Saylors
    High School: Chief Sealth International High School
    Post-Secondary Institution: Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.)

    After a challenging start in high school, Natalie Saylors, a graduating senior at Chief Sealth International High School, is thankful for a teacher who supported Saylors through difficult times.

    Saylors says of the educator’s impact, “I miss her already – our talks in the morning and the constant knowledge that there’s someone looking out for me.”

    An avid reader, Saylors plans to write stories that “show characters not often seen – characters of color, LGBT characters, characters with disabilities, etc.” Saylors stressed the importance of writing non-sensational stories that allow characters to exist as they are, so diverse stories can be integrated into mainstream media.

    The graduating senior won’t stop at writing books, but also hopes to work with children as an elementary teacher or daycare provider. Saylors said, “I love listening to the stories that kids weave and seeing all that their imagination comes up with.”

    In a moment of reflection, Saylors offered this advice to their younger self, “Things get better. Keep going. It’ll all be worth it in the end.”

    Emmanul Burrell school photoStudent: Emmanuel Burrell
    High School: Middle College
    Post-Secondary Institution: Art Institute

    For graduating Middle College senior, Emmanuel Burrell, wearing a cap and gown and graduating on time is his proudest achievement.

    Burrell believes failure, trial and error have molded him into who he is today. He credits Middle College High School staff for supporting him, as well as his friends: Sola, Steve and Lura.

    The aspiring young filmmaker hopes the advice he would give to his younger self will also be a guiding light for his peers on a similar journey. “Limit your screen time. Video games, YouTube and the internet in general are all major distractions. Focus on your own self-improvement and success. Don’t just sit around waiting. Go find your talents,” Burrell shared.

    Looking ahead, Burrell plans on expanding on his list of skills and abilities and spending some time to recuperate and reset. “I want to travel,” he said. “I want to save money this summer so I can see more of the world next summer!” Learn more about the Seattle School Scholarship Fund.