SMSD News: Scholarship Shawnee Mission kicks off for Shawnee Mission seniors

Instead of assemblies in gymnasiums, every morning this week a caravan traveled to homes of seniors to present the scholarship offers to individual students, representing a class of recipients.

It was a week full of surprises, fist bumps, and happy tears. The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation kicked off the annual Scholarship Shawnee Mission program by delivering offers to several Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) seniors from each of the five high schools and from Horizons High School.

Click here to see a video of the scholarship presentations.

“I’m speechless and wasn’t planning on crying this morning,” exclaimed Bella Zipf, Shawnee Mission North senior, when representatives from the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, SM North principals, and Mike Fulton, SMSD superintendent, knocked on her door.

Kim Hinkle, executive director for the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, explained that Scholarship Shawnee Mission is a program where SMSD parents can opt in to share their student’s data with participating colleges and universities.

“Much like athletes are recruited by colleges, we think our students who excel academically should be
recruited, and through Scholarship Shawnee Mission they are,” Hinkle noted.

This year’s offers were announced differently than last year. Instead of assemblies in gymnasiums, every morning this week a caravan traveled to homes of seniors to present the scholarship offers to individual students, representing a class of recipients.

The best part of the day was the student reactions, their genuine shock and surprise Dr. Jeremy Higgins noted.

“I know these scholarships take down barriers for our kids,” Higgins added.

Letters with scholarship offers will be mailed to all senior recipients. Nearly all families with seniors have opted in the Scholarship Shawnee Mission program. This year, scholarship offers are being made to SMSD students from more than 40 college and university partners.

“I’m so proud to serve on the Foundation Board and help provide resources, our students might not get elsewhere,” Stacy Stotts said. “Our goal is to have a college or university partner in every state.”

Senior Laylan Hamid thanked the foundation for opening doors not only for her, but for other students, too.

“I cannot thank you enough for your special delivery! My parents and I were so happy and just feel so grateful. My grandma even cried when we shared everything about your visit,” Hamid shared.

Scholarship SM is an exciting opportunity for SMSD seniors because it opens doors some did not think were possible before this week, Cindy Neely, Counselor coordinator at SM West shared. “What I love about Scholarship SM is that it creates an atmosphere of college aspiration among so many students,” Neely said

Nate Curry, SM East senior, thanked the district and the Foundation for providing amazing opportunities and opening options.

“Scholarship Shawnee Mission offers incredible opportunities to our students and exemplifies our exceptional school district,” Dr. Mike Fulton said. “The Foundation deserves credit for supporting and implementing this game-changing and innovative program.”