GWU surprises 10 D.C. students with full ride scholarships

  Photo Credit: Screenshot/ WJLA ABC 7
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ WJLA ABC 7

According to Mike Carter-Conneen of WJLA ABC7, several high school students were surprised with full-ride scholarships to George Washington University (GWU). GWUleaders and the school’s mascot gathered students in their classes and presented them with the awards. 

GWU distributed the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg merit based scholarship to students across the city. It is a four-year, full ride scholarship covering tuition, room, board, fees and books.

The day was bittersweet for GWU President Steven Knapp who is stepping down after a decade in the role. In that time, he has handed out nearly 100 of these scholarships.
“One of the most inspiring things about this is to see how enthusiastic the fellow students are to see one of their own singled out for this opportunity,” Knapp said.

Parents, like Reshanna Morrisey, got a heads up a few days ago. Her daughter Emmoni, a senior at McKinley Technology High School, plans to study business management and Mandarin Chinese at the university.

“Oh gosh, it was torture,” Morrisey said. “It was torture knowing I had this great secret I had to keep from her.”

Eastern High School senior Adonte Yearwood moved to D.C. from the U.S. Virgin Islands. He lost his dad last August. The firefighter was shot and killed while on duty in St. Thomas.

“I think [my dad] would be very proud of me,” Yearwood said. “I honestly wish he was here to celebrate with me but I just want to make him proud.”

Without this scholarship, Yearwood might have joined the military. “I know my mother has my little brother to worry about,” he said. “Now she doesn’t have to worry about it. And I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to take a great burden off of her.” The 17-year old plans to study criminology and become a public servant like his late father.

List of 2017 Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship recipients:

–   Cherisse Hayes of Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Ward 1) is an aspiring journalist. She is class treasurer, a student contributor at and has interned for the D.C. Superior Court of Appeals as a junior deputy clerk.

–   Lorrin Davis of Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1) is interested in studying international affairs to pursue her dream of working as a Foreign Service officer. She participated in former first lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn program and conducted a case study on the Syrian refugee crisis.

–   Ana Lopez of Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1) first learned English at age 13 when she moved to D.C. and joined her mom who had left their home country when Ana was a baby. She will be the first member of her family to attend college.

–   Jenesis Duran of Washington Latin Public Charter School (Ward 4) is captain of her soccer team, school secretary and treasurer and involved in the League of United Latin American Citizens. She intends to study international relations.

–   Michael Degaga of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Ward 5) is expected to be the class valedictorian. He is the mechanical captain of the robotics team, a member of JROTC and hopes to turn his passion for aviation into a career and intends to major in mechanical engineering.

–   Joel Escobar of Cesar Chavez – Parkside High School Campus (Ward 7) is a first generation student and is expected to graduate at the top of his class. He is captain of his school’s soccer team, and an advocate for victims of domestic abuse and plans to
major in computer science. Read more here.