Support the Students of Color Scholarship

February 11, 2021 / Andrea Wenger
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Eastern Mennonite School aspires to “reflect Christ’s light as a learning community where every student belongs, thrives, and lives God’s call.” A newly revised endowed fund — the Students of Color Scholarship — provides opportunity for donors to support the school’s growing diversity, and help remove barriers to an EMS education for more students of color.

“EMS is located in one of the most diverse cities in the state of Virginia,” notes Paul Leaman, head of school. “We hope the Students of Color Scholarship will help us increase the number of cultures and traditions in our school and thus more closely reflect the make up of our city. Recognizing that tuition can be a barrier for some families, we believe this scholarship will make an excellent education accessible to more families of diverse backgrounds.”

For the 2020-21 school year, this scholarship is limited to students entering grades 6-12. Applicants should be students who are excited about learning and ready to explore music, the arts, athletics, and clubs at EMS.  Applicants will arrange to visit EMS to share more about their desire to join the school community as part of the admissions process.

Interested students entering grades 6-12 and families can learn more about the application process at here. 

Funding the endowed fund

The EMS Students of Color Scholarship was established in 2020 as the school  sought more tangible ways to address racial inequities and barriers in the culture at large and at EMS in particular.

Thanks to seed money planted nearly 30 years ago, the endowed fund was quickly established. The original endowment was established in the early 1990s to enable Laotian immigrant students from a local Mennonite church to attend EMHS. The family that provided the seed money was happy, when approached in late 2020, to see the scope broadened to include support for students of color from any ethnic background.

Earnings from the endowment have been tapped as part of the school’s routine financial aid process over the years; broadening it as a scholarship will, the school hopes, invite more donor support, as well as make it more accessible to a broader group of applicants.

An unsolicited gift from Chuck Hostetter ’71 designated for students of color in summer 2020, prompted review of the original endowment, conversations with the founders, and revamp.

Hostetter was moved to send a gift to the school after running across a stack of letters in storage. The letters were sent to him by EMHS classmates while living with his family in Nigeria during his senior year. “That support from peers meant so much,” he wrote. “I see now how my life trajectory took shape, influenced by other cultures. I’m grateful to support this fund in appreciation for what those EMHS friends meant to me, and to support the insights and gift to humanity people of color bring to school communities.”

Others who would like to support the endowed fund to ensure the availability of a growing pool financial aid over the long term, can make a gift online here (designate Students of Color Fund), or contact Trisha Blosser, development officer, or 540-236-6024.

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