SEED Scholars are Going Global

“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” – Matthew Karsten

According to Rustic Pathways, international travel is a major catalyst in encouraging students to think critically, identify their interests and passions, gain a global perspective, and practice cultural sensitivity.

Gaining exposure to the world at a young age can help to inspire a college major and create a life-long passion. A study by The National Association for Education found that 81 percent of students who traveled abroad in middle or high school went on to pursue a college degree.

At SEED, experiential learning is a core component of our college-prep programming. We offer our students more than 100 experiential learning opportunities each year. In fact, this summer, over 50 SEED scholars traveled to countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, and Japan to embark on life-changing experiences.

While abroad, our students learn foreign languages, participate in mission-based projects to aid residents, take on new challenges, and build their international networks. These experiences have equipped our scholars with the tools they need to succeed in today’s global economy.

Here’s what some of our scholars had to say about their trips this summer:

Going to Brazil was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were accepted with open arms like we were home; it was amazing!

-          Vincent Jordan (SEED DC ‘20) - Onda Solidária/SEED Exchange Brazil

“The highlight of my time in Japan was the homestay. I had a very good family. I met lots of people that are now my good friends. This experience has encouraged me to meet new people from different backgrounds. I’m so thankful to SEED for giving me this opportunity.

-          ChrisJonaye Woodland (SEED DC ‘21) - The Experiment in International Living (EIL) Japan

“Brazil is an amazing place to travel...the beaches, mountains, museums, and the opportunity to learn Portuguese! Anyone would love it here!”

-          Keyondre Joyner (SEED DC ‘21) - Onda Solidária/SEED Exchange Brazil

 “My experience was phenomenal! I tried new things and learned so much about Brazilian culture. I also met a lot of cool people who have encouraged me to do different things and get out of my comfort zone.”

-          Antoine Washington (SEED DC ‘22) Onda Solidária/SEED Exchange Brazil

Learn more about SEED’s Experiential Learning and External Opportunities program.  



Welcome Back SEED DC Scholars!

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The new school year is officially upon us! The SEED School of Washington, D.C. has moved into the 2019-2020 instructional year with ONE mission, ONE goal, and ONE voice – to prepare our scholars for success in college and beyond. 

One of SEED’s great traditions is the first Sunday move-in day for the school year. Greeting our scholars and their families as they move into the residence halls sets the tone for the academic year. Our entire staff was present this year as we welcomed our returning and new ninth grade scholars. While our students diligently pack school supplies and day-to-day necessities, there is always more that we can do as a community to support them and our boarding program. I hope you will consider participating in SEED’s #BacktoBoarding campaign to help our scholars thrive.

In this newsletter you will also learn more about our scholars’ international travels this summer and discover insight about SEED’s annual College Prep Bootcamp for seniors.  Friends like you make these opportunities possible.

You will be hearing from me throughout the year as we highlight the many facets of our 24-hour educational program that are unique to SEED, including our award-winning arts program. I’m very excited to lift up all of the work we do to close the achievement gap. Stay tuned!

Here at SEED DC, we are centered around seven core values – Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Growth, and Gratitude. That last value – gratitude - is one that I hold especially dear because it recognizes that our work would not be possible without our donor community. Thank you and I look forward to staying in touch.

With sincerity,

Mecha Inman

Head of School

College Bootcamp was a Success!

For SEED seniors, the school year began with a bang. On September 4-5, we convened at George Mason University for our annual College Prep Bootcamp.

The goal of our annual College Prep Bootcamp is to provide all SEED seniors with the information they need to apply to, enroll, and persist in college. Key workshops included writing a college essay; choosing a “right-fit” college; applying for financial aid and scholarships; navigating race, equity, and identity on college campuses; and more. The event also provides seniors with time to reconnect with old friends and make new friends to support each other during the school year. 

In addition to learning the ropes of the college application process, College Prep Bootcamp attendees were exposed to experiential learning opportunities. For example, last year they participated in a real ropes course during a trip to Terrapin Adventures in Maryland!

“Through the College Prep Bootcamp for seniors, we provide our scholars with a two-day intensive workshop experience where we dive deeply into key concepts of the college application and submission process,” said Ms. Baker Jones, director of college transition & success. “We set a high bar for our students and give them the direction they need so that someday they can achieve their college dreams.”

Since 2016, over 100 SEED seniors have participated in College Prep Bootcamp. To learn more about how you can help SEED scholars start school year 2020 right, check out our #BacktoBoarding campaign!

Meet Our Students: Monae Scott (SEED DC ’19) Receives Posse Scholarship


Tenacious, driven, and gifted are just a few words that capture the spirit of Monae Scott (SEED DC ’19). Monae began her journey with SEED as a sixth-grade student who was committed to making her dream of becoming a college graduate a reality. As a SEED scholar, she took advantage of every opportunity to gain a global perspective, such as traveling to Greece and Tanzania. While abroad, Monae was immersed in cultures much different than her own. This gave her a special outlook on class differences and their impacts on underserved populations in countries across the world.

On campus, Monae is a leader among her peers. She serves as a peer group counselor whose duties include mentoring younger students. She is also an active member of The SEED Falcon Theatre, an award-winning performing arts program designed to promote and develop scholars who have a passion for the creative and performing arts. As an advocate for her community, Monae participated in Project Soapbox last fall, a program that asks students to create a two-minute call-to-action speech. She focused on the food deserts of Wards 7 and 8 compared to the rest of her native DC.

These accomplishments have garnered Monae not one, but two academic scholarships toward her college education! She is the proud recipient of the Horatio Alger Association State Scholarship and was also chosen as a Posse Scholar. Posse Scholars receive full-tuition scholarships to attend one of The Posse Foundation’s partner colleges or universities.

In the fall of 2019, Monae will begin her college journey at Sewanee: The University of the South. We wish her much success!

Our Impact: SEED DC Scholars Serve the Community and Learn Real-World Skills as Tax Prep Ambassadors

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For many of us, filing our taxes is as simple as creating an online account with a tax services provider, submitting the necessary documents, and pressing Send. Unfortunately, for many residents in Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, DC, the story is quite different.

Peter Nouhan, a graduate student at Georgetown University, saw a need for professional tax services for the underserved population of elderly and low-wage workers who don’t have access to technology in these communities. He decided to start the first high-school-led, free tax prep initiative in Washington, DC, offering a unique opportunity for local college-bound students to serve their community.

After receiving the 2018 Baker Innovation Grant, a $20,000 grant to fund social and political programs, Mr. Nouhan partnered with Community Tax Aid (CTA), a free, local tax assistance organization, and Hoya Taxa, a Georgetown University undergraduate student organization, to pilot the SEED Tax Prep Ambassadors.

“We approached over 30 schools in the DC area, and Lesli Thompson, director of Experiential Learning & External Opportunities at SEED DC, was the only person who took the leap. She believed in our initiative. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without her,” Mr. Nouhan said.

Every Monday evening, beginning on February 4, the SEED Tax Prep Ambassadors went to St. Luke Catholic Church to learn how to properly prepare tax documents, which included collecting the client’s tax documents, photo ID, and Social Security card and uploading them to a secure Google Drive account. With the help of Ron Hayes, tax program manager at CTA, and Hoya Taxa members Daphne Chiang (Georgetown University ’19) and Mark McNiskin (Georgetown University ’20), the SEED scholars worked closely with their clients to schedule appointments, provide consultations, and input tax information. A certified public accountant then prepared the taxes remotely, and the clients returned a week later to go over their return and submit it.

“Because of this program, I learned what it means to be an effective multitasker and successfully handle multiple clients at one time,” said Kendriss Johnson (SEED DC ’19).

In addition to providing our scholars with tax preparation skills, Mr. Nouhan plans to incorporate the drop-off model devised by CTA, which will enable clients to leave their tax documents after a 20-minute consultation with a student volunteer. This process is more efficient and will allow for more community members to be served.

Congratulations to the following SEED DC scholars—Zachary Clark (SEED DC ’19), London Hart (SEED DC ’19), Kendriss Johnson (SEED DC ’19), Jeffrey Moore IV (SEED DC ’19), Imani Nixon (SEED DC ’19), and Jaymar Richards (SEED DC ’19)—for making history by being a part of such an amazing initiative and serving their community!

Our Boarding Program: Ms. Sonia White Builds Irreplaceable Bonds

Ms. Sonia White sits third from left, with members of the SEED DC step team.

Ms. Sonia White sits third from left, with members of the SEED DC step team.

At The SEED School of Washington, D.C., we need more than just great teachers. Our 24-hour learning environment also requires committed counselors, advisors, and residential staff to work alongside our academic team. Together, our faculty pushes our students to own their educational journeys.

Ms. Sonia White serves as a leader of our residential team. For Ms. White, SEED is home. Thirteen years ago, she was hired as a resident advisor. She remembers the day like it was yesterday.  “I remember exactly what I was doing when Ms. Lesli Thompson [director of experiential learning and external opportunities] called to offer me the job. I couldn’t contain my excitement.”  

Today, Ms. White serves as the student life cohort lead and has built irreplaceable bonds with countless students.

“Ms. White has instilled wisdom in me and helped me work through difficult times. Whether its help with college applications or if I need to hear a joke, she is always there,” shared Dakota Blakney (SEED DC ‘21).

The walls in her office are decorated with smiling photos of former SEED students she is still in contact with. “These photos remind me of the impact I can have on a young person’s life.”

In addition to serving as a leader in the girl’s dorm, Ms. White is the head coach for SEED DC’s step team. She feels this program helps young ladies develop confidence and discipline.  

Because of our community’s belief in our work, we can hire nurturing and exceptional leaders like Ms. White. Thank you for your support.