KC Scholars Makes College Education Possible

Cristo Rey Students Make the Grade
Posted on 04/30/2021
LeAnna Nguyen Cristo Rey Junior

KC Scholars continues to make an impact on the future of the community and is the “go to” resource for diversifying the region’s workforce. On April 30, KC Scholars announced approximately 1,000 scholarships totaling an investment of over $35 million.

Awards include renewable financial assistance, college advisement, and persistence support. KC Scholars provides an opportunity for a postsecondary education for students who may otherwise be unable to complete a postsecondary degree without incurring large debt loads. 

Of some 1,600 applications, more than 74 percent were from individuals of color and more than 70 percent will be the first in the family to attend college.

KC Scholars provides pathways to and of opportunity,” stated Dr. Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, president and CEO of KC Scholars. “The program changes individual and family lives, creates family patterns of completing college, and connects awardees to practical experience and employment in our region. KC Scholars is transformative – for individual recipients and for the region. And, KC Scholars is a program of large scale that is working to create inclusive prosperity in our region,” she said.

Cristo Rey Kansas City President John O’Connor observed, “We are incredibly proud of these young men and women.  We look forward to seeing the future impact that they will have on our community.” 

O’Connor commended nine Cristo Rey Kansas City juniors for recognition as KC Scholars Traditional Awardees, a program that brings $10,000 per year for up to five years of college or university.

  • Valerie Arizmendi
  • Yanitza Hernandez-Mendoza
  • Pascaline Mambo
  • Leanna Nguyen
  • Jemima Olvera-Santos
  • Daniel Pena
  • Tyrisse Simmons
  • Kristopher Thompson
  • Christofher Zamora-Aguirre

KC Scholars’ recipients have proven to enroll in college at rates near 100 percent and to continue in college in the high-90 percentile. For the adult recipients, that’s nearly 40 percentage points higher than the national average. For the high school recipients, the rate is more than 20 percent higher than national averages.

;KC Scholars has allowed me to go to a university and gain a support system like no other,” remarked Roman Leapheart, 2018 KC Scholars Traditional Awardee from Cristo Rey Kansas City, who is now a Secondary Education Major at University of Missouri.  “As a first-generation college student, the Award has pushed my name into rooms my feet are yet to see. It has supported me and allowed to not worry about my financial status, giving me the ability to make the change I want to see.”

KC Scholars’ goals include that 75 percent of Scholars complete a credit-bearing credential, associate, and/or bachelor’s degree and that 80 percent of completers stay in the Kansas City region to live, work and contribute.

Tankersley-Bankhead reminded us that, “We must not - we dare not - forget the positive impact of education in addressing racial and social equity.” 

For more information about KC Scholars visit  https://kcscholars.org/.
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