More than 300 community members attended POMP!, Evanston Scholars’ annual benefit, held last month. Community members joined families in celebration of and support, raising more than $200,000 in support of Evanston Scholars.
Celebrating its five-year anniversary and first college graduating class this year, Evanston Scholars was founded by Steve Newman, an Evanston native and long-time teacher at Evanston Township High School. He said he was inspired to establish Evanston Scholars after seeing some of his brightest students fail to find success in college. Although talented, these students lacked both the know-how and financial support to get in and get through college.
The Evanston Scholars program improves college access and success for a diverse group of ambitious Evanston students who are traditionally first-generation college entrants, low-income, and students of color, starting with the college admissions process and continuing through college graduation.
Keynote speaker Tyler Dixon, Evanston Scholar and rising junior at Hampton University, credited the program with helping her apply to 10 colleges and for 15 different scholarships.
Evanston Scholars also helped Tyler make the often-difficult transition to college – and survive some initial homesickness by sending care packages and notes. Tyler said,“Throughout my first two years at college, Evanston Scholars kept in contact with me on a regular basis through text messages, calls, and emails. They always wanted to know how I was doing and if I needed any help. It was great to have that support system.”
Since its 2011 inception, Evanston Scholars has grown from serving 10 students to serving 134 students this year. Mr. Newman thanked the many supporters and said, “Evanston is such an amazing community. … These funds will help Evanston Scholars enhance and grow the program to help more deserving students reach their potential.”
Money raised will provide ACT preparation, mentoring, college counseling, and college persistence support on the path to a college degree.
Mary Finnegan, event co-chair, Evanston Scholar board member, and mentor to Scholar Tyler Dixon says, “A highlight from the event was seeing each Scholar walk down the stairs wearing their college name on their shirts, with their proud parents in attendance. It reminds us of the hard work the students put in to get to this point, and the obstacles they’ve already overcome.”