Alexandria, Va. — The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) raised over $400,000 at its 32nd Annual Spring Benefit Gala and Auction on Saturday to provide college scholarships for Alexandria City Public School students in need.
More than 560 supporters turned out for the gala at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, which included a silent, an online and a live auction. Since 1986, The SFA has awarded more than $14.5 million in scholarships and helped more than 4,600 Alexandria students realize their college dreams.
Recognized at the event were three “Portrait of Success” award winners—SFA scholarship recipients who have gone on to achieve great personal and professional success. From the T.C. Williams class of 1998, Micheline Diakité is a construction management executive with Boston Properties, Clark Mercer is chief of staff to Governor Ralph Northam, and Dr. Kenneth Shumate is a doctor of dental surgery.
“They are a testament to how high our Titans can rise. As T.C. Williams’ socioeconomically diverse population continues to swell and the cost of higher education skyrockets, financial support from our community is needed now more than ever. This event is truly a great night for a great cause,” said Interim Superintendent Lois F. Berlin.
Incoming ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings Jr., a homegrown Titan, SFA scholarship recipient and “Portrait of Success” honoree flew in from Ohio to attend the gala and meet 30 scholarship recipients from the T.C. Williams class of 2018.
“I am a scholarship recipient and it changed the trajectory of my life. I want to tell our young people that you can grow up to become the superintendent of the school where you got your start. I am so grateful for the start that the Scholarship Fund gave me,” said Dr. Hutchings.
This year, 150 students received scholarships from the SFA.
SFA Executive Director Beth Lovain regrets that the organization is not able to meet the needs of all students who want to pursue a college education.
“The need for scholarships in this community is great. Each year we have to turn kids away because we simply do not have the funds to help all of our students in need, especially this year when we saw a sizeable jump in applications. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all Alexandria students have the opportunity to attend college,” said Lovain.
“We are extremely grateful to the Alexandria community for the incredible outpouring of support we received this evening. We saw an unprecedented 25 percent jump in scholarship applications in the last year alone. This shows that more students dream of going to college and that more of these students have financial need. We are humbled by the generosity of our community and our many sponsors who joined together tonight to provide these students an opportunity to pursue and achieve their college dreams,” said Kathy Conrad, SFA Board Chair.
The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1986 that partners with Alexandria City Public Schools to provide scholarships and financial aid advising to ACPS students.