Our optional Strategy Plan is a Google Form that gives you a very small glimpse of our final scholarship submission. It’s a few questions that generate critical thinking about the project you’re working on and planning to submit for the final application. It gives your project organization and meaning.
On top of all of this, it’s an opportunity for feedback from our scholarship team. Each strategy plan submission is read and then responded to with specific feedback as well as all questions submitted are answered.
This part of the scholarship process is not required but can be extremely helpful and can give scholarship applicants a big advantage.
The strategy plan for 2024 is due on March 1, so the deadline is quickly approaching. If you know anyone planning on submitting a scholarship application this year, send this their way!
When choosing a scholarship winner, we are always looking for projects that have ways in place to impact communities for years to come, not just once. So it excites us when we see our scholarship winners continue to do amazing things with what they are working on, long after the scholarship money has been awarded.
A 2023 scholarship winner, Gitanjali Rao, has recently let us know that she is being awarded today with a Beloved Community Award for Technological Innovation for the same work that she submitted for her scholarship application.
“The Beloved Community Awards is one of the marquee events of The King Center’s week-long annual King holiday experience. The awards recognize national and international individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership, pursuit of social justice, and commitment to creating the Beloved Community in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.” –www.handsonatlanta.org
Gitanjali is an amazing student who is always working hard and finding more ways to serve, learn, and research. We are so proud of her and all of her amazing achievements! A big congratulations to you today, Gitanjali!
Our 2024 scholarship is officially open and taking applications! You can see our 2023 winners, as well as all past winners, here.
The Honors Graduation scholarship program is specifically for graduating high school teens with the intention of attending a college, university, or trade school the following school year. Our scholarship platform is project-based, with building a better future for your own community at the center of it.
Our scholarship becomes increasingly competitive each year, and our winners are submitting better community projects each time. So what exactly are we looking for in our 2024 scholarship applicants?
Community-Based Projects: Projects that directly impact and influence the immediate community and better the people and environment.
Community-Driven Students: We’re looking for students active in their community and students driven to see it grow, change, and better.
Students that Care: We are seeking out students who care about their community, their project, and the people they are serving.
Students Fighting for a Change: Anyone can look around and see a problem. They might even have a way to solve the problem. We’re looking for problem solvers. The students who not only see the problem and come up with the solution but also act on it, too. The students that are fighting for a change.
We cannot wait for the 2024 applications to be submitted next spring so we can read more about the problems teens see in their communities and their ideas and actions to alleviate those issues. Together we truly can build a better future!
Our 2023 scholarship season has come to a close. The applications we received absolutely blew us away and choosing our final 5 winners was harder than ever. We are constantly inspired by our scholarship applicants and the ways they better their communities.
Our 2024 scholarship is NOW LIVE. This means you can read the rules and submit a feedback form, as well as your final application (although, I would recommend holding off on your final application until the due date is closer!)
If you know of a graduating high school senior, would you please send them the link to our 2024 Build a Better Future Scholarship? All seniors deserve to know about this application and anyone sharing on their social media or through word of mouth always helps us reach those that need to see it.
As always, our email is open for any questions or feedback. Do not hesitate to reach out!
Meet Victor Caceres, one of our scholarship recipients. Victor is a graduating high school senior in the state of California that worked hard to renovate and build up his community food pantry. He writes,
“My community is very much a middle to lower-class community. The people are kind and for the most part helpful. At St. Bridget of Sweden Catholic church, the people at Martha’s Pantry needed help to restore their run-down food bank. The issue I observed was that the pantry was not properly equipped to help the community with the distribution of food and other products to families in need of it. A lack of refrigerators and shelving units left the pantry and its volunteers vulnerable to properly helping out the community. My project aimed to provide the equipment and make a better environment for the pantry through the cleaning, painting, and installation of refrigerators and shelving units to it. Apart from this, my project beautified the facility so it and the St. Bridget community can now enjoy and engage more with the community at large.”
Victor is very involved in his community and really enjoyed being able to give back to those that need it the most.
“Many people face hunger in the world. Los Angeles is no exception to this. The project’s main purpose was to renovate the rooms and install shelves for the pantry. In the big picture, the project will help the community by providing canned goods & non-perishable items for free to many of the less fortunate in the area. I believe my project will not only benefit the church community at St. Bridgets but many of the people who live in the Van Nuys area, especially the elderly who frequent Martha’s Pantry throughout the year for their goods. More than 200 people rely on the pantry per month and this number totals closer to 400 during the holidays.”
He set his sights high and worked to make the pantry a usable, happy space for everyone.
“The project is greatly needed as lately, the pantry has been suffering from a lack of donations. Simultaneously, the state of the building is getting worse. The community engagement needs to increase. Martha’s Pantry is a staple in our community. Although the volunteers are there, the current condition of the pantry impedes the amount of reach the pantry has. With my project, Martha’s Pantry is better than new and has helped over 200 people per month who rely on it for their food. My goal was to equip the pantry with all necessary equipment in the short run & in the long run. This along with the beautification of the pantry will have greater engagement and outreach with the community.”
Victor’s project is inspiring to all those that hear it. His dedication to not only Martha’s Pantry but to the community members that rely on the food pantry is incredible and a story worth sharing!
We’re also well on our way to bringing you the 2024 Build a Better Future scholarship! Once the updated scholarship has been successfully published and is live, we’ll let you know so that you can send the scholarship application to your favorite 2024 graduating high school senior.
Thank you to all of the 2023 scholarship winners for building a better future.
Meet our top scholarship recipient, Jalen Coleman. Not only did Jalen receive a $10,000 scholarship towards college tuition, but he also received a $5,000 grant for his organization Outside J’s Sunday Fundays. Jalen saw a need within the parks and rec department within his city and worked hand in hand with them to bring new basketball courts and tournaments to their community. He writes,
“The game of basketball belongs to everyone. If you have a ball and a hoop, you have a game. Unfortunately, the sport of basketball for kids has been privatized and commercialized into a pay-for-play model, where travel, cost, and fees are required before kids ever get to see the ball go through the basket. This has created a demand for gym space, coaches, players, playing time, and winning which has caused the stakes to rise, and the culture of sports to become hyper-competitive. I seek to return the game to its roots. We invite all skill levels, youth ages, and genders to play at newly refurbished courts for FREE. Outside J allows all who want to hoop, the ability to hoop without the hyper-competitive, money-driven baggage that comes with sports.”
Jalen worked to inspire many in his community. During a phone interview we held with him he spoke of his passion for the game and for creating an inclusive environment for everyone to be a part of. He commented that his least favorite part was the work it took to take everything down and clean up, but it was always all worth it to watch the entire event come together and see everyone having a good time. Jalen also writes,
“I am a lover of the game of basketball, and I REALLY like playing pickup basketball at outdoor basketball courts. I realize that in this technology-based, travel sports era, that many youths are not participating in sports in a free-play environment. Travel sports requires money, time, transportation, and fees that eliminates a lot of the youth that need to play the most. I decided to combine my love for sports, and my love for community, by creating Outside J, during the Covid-19 Lockdown. I connected with my city parks and rec department, my local schools and churches, to create a website, and prepare for quarterly events that are FREE for youth in our community.”
Our team at HonorsGradU has been so impressed with Jalen and his commitment to helping his city for the better. Jalen has more free events he’s working on in the future and plans to attend college in the fall as well.