The Students of Color Scholarship Fund has been renamed the Mul- ticultural Scholarship Fund. The endowed fund provides financial assistance to qualifying students to diversify and enrich the school.
“We want our student body to better reflect the cultures and traditions of Harrisonburg, our country, and world,” says Paul Leaman, head of school. “We also want to increase access to an EMS education, and to enrich the EMS experience for students of all backgrounds.”
In the 1990s, a donor provided seed money to support Laotian immigrant students from a Mennonite church.
Following the death of George Floyd, EMS sought more tangible ways to address racial inequities and barriers in the culture at large and at EMS. An unsolicited gift in- tended to support students of color prompted review of the Laotian student fund and a rename to the Students of Color Scholarship Fund. With promotion of the fund, new gifts came in and the fund doubled.
During the 2021-22 school year, Marsha Thomas, admissions counselor, heard feedback from some in our community that the term “color” harkened back to the pain of the pre-Civil Rights era. Subsequent stakeholder conversations and surveys resulted in the new name.
“The process deepened our awareness of the power of language to divide, confuse, wound or bring people together,” said Trisha Blosser, development officer.
Eligible students can be in any grade and will have demonstrated financial need. Applicants can begin the process by starting the EMS application, which opens
Nov. 1. See easternmennonite.org/admissions