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News Release

Date: June 12, 2007
Media Contact: Anne Holte, 240-567-4046 or Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

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High-Achieving African-American and Black MCPS High School Students Reach for a ‘STAR’ and Win Scholarships

One hundred sixty-four outstanding African-American and black students from Montgomery County Public Schools are recipients of this year’s awards from the STAR (Stand Tall and Reach) Scholarship Foundation. The awards will be presented at the Sixth Annual STAR-Montgomery Awards Luncheon Saturday, June 16 at noon, at the Universities at Shady Grove. The guest speakers will be Miriam Mazrook and Gilles Mepossi, who are honor students from Montgomery College. Both are graduating and transferring to prestigious universities.

One hundred thirty-four students received awards of either $1,000 or $250, for a total of $96,500. An additional 30 students received certificates of merit. Scholarship recipients maintained a minimum 3.0 grade point average and participated in extracurricular activities such as community service or employment. Students submitted an application, essay, and recommendations, and the finalists were interviewed.

The STAR Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation that was started and initially funded in 1992 by Paul Peck. STAR is all volunteer and 98+% of all money goes to scholarships. Mr. Peck has extended STAR into Washington DC; Oakland, CA; Richmond, VA; and Arlington County, VA. To date, the STAR Scholarship Foundation has awarded over $1,010,000 in merit scholarships and merit awards.

STAR Scholarships are provided for both academic and vocational education. They are based on merit and highly competitive. African-American and black high school students can compete annually for scholarships in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, giving them the potential to earn up to $3,000 toward their education, by winning the scholarship for three consecutive years. When a student wins a scholarship, the money is held in trust by the STAR Scholarship Foundation until the student enrolls in an accredited college or trade school.

Program founder and benefactor Paul Peck, a local philanthropist who serves as chair and chief executive officer of the STAR Scholarship Foundation, provided the original seed money for Montgomery County. Additional funding is generated by the STAR Montgomery Advisory Board. MCPS provides administrative assistance, along with Montgomery College.

“Education works,” said Paul Peck. “It is the foundation of skills, self-esteem and self-confidence. I created STAR to demonstrate to African-American students that there is hope, the community cares, and studying pays.” In 2002, Mr. Peck expanded the STAR initiative by creating and funding STAR Merit Awards to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

For more information about the STAR Scholarship awards program, please call Dr. Clarice Somersall of Montgomery College at 240-567-1702; e-mail

2007 STAR Award Recipients

Note: A “ *” next to the recipient’s name indicates a 2-Year award recipient; “**” indicates a 3-Year award recipient.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase H.S. (11): Joselyne Baranshamaje (Certificate of Merit), Aleah Bowie ($1,000), Langston Brown ($1,000), Hannah Cooper ($250), Brianna Crayton ($1,000), Kyrie Eiras-Saunders** ($1,000), Abigail Fitzsimons ($1,000), Antonia Forbin ($1,000), Nana-Yaa Misa ($1,000), Taylor Smith ($1,000), Jabari Smith Fraser ($250)

Montgomery Blair H.S. (3): Terrance Hamm ($1,000), Emmaly Ogujuba ($250), Sydney Smith ($250)

James Hubert Blake H.S. (10): Rynise Allen (Certificate of Merit), Zi-Ayawoavi Athiogbey ($1,000), Edwina Barber* ($1,000), Brittney De Neal ($250), Rahmatullah Deme ($250), Chanell Dunham (Certificate of Merit), Brittany Fennell* ($1,000), Danielle Lawrence* ($1,000), Kenneth Manjo ($250), Kelly Washington ($1,000)

Clarksburg H.S. (5): Leila Dawa* ($250), Michael Leaman ($1,000), Anthony O'Tapi* ($250), Abigail Richards* ($1,000), Lucrece Tiengwe* ($1,000)

Gaithersburg H.S. (13): Tabitha Asante ($1,000), Andrew Clarke ($250), Ricardo Dunmoodie ($250), Grace Etshoko ($250), Chelsea Frazier (Certificate of Merit), Brittany Hackett* ($250), Sheila Headspeth ($250), Jasmine Jones* ($1,000), Janet Kallon ($250), Taylor Kemp ($1,000), Mpho Mafune (Certificate of Merit), Cynthia Osemene ($250), Nicole Peterson ($250)

John F. Kennedy H.S. (3): Paige Bathersfield (Certificate of Merit), Armando Sullivan ($1,000), Zuri Sullivan ($1,000)

Col. Zadok Magruder H.S. (10): Danielle Day ($250), Lauren Haynes ($1,000), Mohamed Janoh ($1,000), Chantelle Mowatt ($1,000), Kyra Nicholson* ($1,000), Jean Souchet ($1,000), Janay Taylor ($1,000), Ronlet Thomas ($250), Kate Tisdell ($250), Ashley Williams ($1,000)

Northwest H.S. (25): Meinking Acha-Morfaw ($1,000), Queen Alike ($250), Bria Beatty ($250), Zelina Brown* (Certificate of Merit), Chantel Broxton* ($1,000), Dambrele Clemons (Certificate of Merit), Courtney Daley (Certificate of Merit), Ayroba Dutton* (Certificate of Merit), Brittany Emelle ($1,000), Brittany Ferguson (Certificate of Merit), Korina Isler (Certificate of Merit), Brahm Kariuki* (Certificate of Merit), Ariel-Marie Keys (Certificate of Merit), Amanda King ($1,000), Sonia Metangmo* ($1,000), Melissa Moore ($1,000), Ashley Nalikka* ($1,000), Mercy Ochieng (Certificate of Merit), Ugochukwu Onyewuchi ($250), Taylor Osborne ($1,000), Imani Palmer* ($1,000), Derek Patterson* ($250), Dereck Paul* ($1,000), Alana Rule ($1,000), Mouhameth Sow ($250)

Paint Branch H.S. (3): Theresa Akede ($250), Nathalie Baptiste ($1,000), Zachary Graves* ($1,000)

Poolesville H.S. (4): Michelle Byamugisha ($1,000), Priscilla Kaakyire (Certificate of Merit), Vita Price ($1,000), Chase Spencer* (Certificate of Merit)

Quince Orchard H.S. (3): Matteo Bellistri* ($1,000), Malu Mbungi (Certificate of Merit), Angele Wafo ($250)

Richard Montgomery H.S. (10): Japhet Mwebi ($250), Jodieann Asher (Certificate of Merit), Olubusayo Awe ($1,000), Jessica Drazenovich ($1,000), Ezra Kebrab ($1,000), Fatima Mangombe ($1,000), Roberto Marwanga ($1,000), Alphonse Mbuh (Certificate of Merit), Janet Mwebi ($1,000), Markeiz Ryan ($1,000)

Seneca Valley H.S. (3): Kianna Harris (Certificate of Merit), Olivia Perry ($1,000), Kiaya Thompson ($250)

Sherwood H.S. (12): Adetomiwa Adewole ($250), Shadeena Garvey (Certificate of Merit), Lauren Lee (Certificate of Merit), Hilina Molla* ($250), Feyipitan Odebode ($250), Brandi Porter ($1,000), Dakari Quimby ($1,000), Khris-Ann Small* ($250), Krystal Sweetenburg ($250), Tolu Tani-Olu* (Certificate of Merit), Unyime Udofia (Certificate of Merit), Jaren White ($1,000)

Springbrook H.S. (22): Omoniyi Akande ($1,000), Nenna Akpaete* ($1,000), Erica Barnett ($1,000), Rutchilia Bleus* ($1,000), Rachael Browning ($250), Jenise Ebanks ($250), Nicodemus Guetatchew* ($1,000), Rodney Kizito ($1,000), Katrina-Camille Lowe* ($1,000), Abeyu Mengistu (Certificate of Merit), Charnelle Pinkett ($250), Jessica Sawadogo ($1,000), Dara Wilson ($1,000), Alan Adebayo (Certificate of Merit), Kefre Akpuete ($1,000), Juliana Atabong ($1,000), Steven Johnson** ($250), Meraf Kebede ($250), Kaela Landon ($1,000), Aselin Lands ($1,000), Charles Mwalimu ($1,000), Yowhens Semaie ($250)

Walter Johnson H.S. (6): Tavona Davis ($1,000), Tabor Kebbede* ($1,000), Renee Mcclinton ($250), Sahara Selby* ($1,000), Ronique Taffe ($1,000), Michael Tchatchoua (Certificate of Merit)

Watkins Mill H.S. (12): Yeabsera Demeke ($250), Elvire Desouza (Certificate of Merit), Neffertiti Meredith ($1,000), Lauretta Mukam ($250), Deborah Namugayi ($1,000), Aysha Ross ($1,000), Debra Samuel* ($1,000), Angelica Scott ($1,000), Courtney Smith ($1,000), Alysia Thompson ($1,000), De Ron Von Ballmoos (Certificate of Merit), Abena Wariebi ($250)

Walt Whitman H.S. (1): Isaama Stoll ($1,000)

Winston Churchill H.S. (3): Neffetara Morris ($250), Sakeenah Muwwakkil ($250), Samantha Wiggins ($250)

Thomas S. Wootton H.S. (5): Schuyler Cosby* ($1,000), Erica George ($250), Beverly Ibeh ($250), Justin Watkis ($250), Alex Weaver ($1,000)

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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