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

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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.