More than 530 supporters turned out for the sold-out gala at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, which included a silent, an online and live auction and two prize raffles. Since 1986, the SFA has awarded more than $16.5 million in scholarships and helped more than 4,750 Alexandria students realize their college dreams.
Recognized at the event was Dr. Huang-An Nguyen, the SFA’s 2019 “Portrait of Success” award winner. The award is given to a past SFA scholarship recipient who has gone on to achieve great personal and professional success. Dr. Huang was a 1989 T.C. Williams graduate. He fled Vietnam and arrived in Alexandria at the age of nine, speaking little English. He enrolled in Mount Vernon Elementary School, and twelve years later graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He is now the Lead Physician for Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Ashburn.
“Dr. Huang is a testament to how high our Titans can rise to attain their life goals. As the socioeconomically diverse population at T.C. Williams High School continues to increase and the cost of higher education skyrockets, the Scholarship Fund and the continued investment in our students from the Alexandria community is needed now more than ever,” said ACPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr., a homegrown Titan and former SFA scholarship recipient and “Portrait of Success” honoree himself.
This year, 168 T.C. Williams seniors in the class of 2019 received scholarships from the SFA. Thirty student recipients attended the event to celebrate their awards and thank the Alexandria community.
“Thank you for believing in me, for believing in us. I am so proud that my fellow Class of 2019 scholarship recipients are standing up here with me tonight. This investment you have made in us, we take it very seriously. It is everything to us. As we prepare to embark on our college journey, it moves us. It motivates us. And it makes us incredibly grateful for your generosity,” said Xiomara Gonzales, a scholarship recipient who will be attending Johns Hopkins University with a full-ride scholarship.
Despite active fundraising, the SFA is unable to meet the needs of all local students who want to pursue a college education each year.
“The need for scholarships in this community is great. Each year we have to turn students away because we simply do not have the funds to help all of our students in need. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all Alexandria students have the opportunity to attend college,” said SFA Executive Director Beth Lovain.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Alexandria community for their incredible outpouring of support this evening. So many hard-working T.C. students share the dream of going to college, but they simply cannot afford to attend. We are humbled by the generosity of our community and our many sponsors who joined together tonight to invest in these kids, and in our community. Quite simply, they are making the dream of college become the possible,” said SFA Board Chair Priscilla Goodwin.