By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
On Monday, March 15, Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity (RARE) awarded its 2021 James A. Davis Jr. Memorial Scholarships to students who have demonstrated a commitment to furthering their education and who have contributed towards a climate of racial equity at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.
The scholarship, named for James A. Davis, Jr., a remarkable Black graduate, and senior class vice president from Roosevelt’s class of 1971, provides two $5,000 annual scholarships for economically disadvantaged students of color at Roosevelt. A collaborating partnership with school staff, RARE has created a clear selection process for the scholarships, which will be available for graduating students who are planning to attend college, trade school or a professional training program.
According to organizers, Davis believed in and promoted racial equity. When he saw something wrong, he spoke up and challenged racial injustices. Davis passed away in 2013 and the scholarships, which were established this year, are a way to honor his dedication and legacy towards racial equity.
The inaugural awardees for the scholarship are Leah Scott and Elsabeth Assaye.
Scott says that she plans to attend the University of Washington and become an economist.
“I hope to study economics and political science together, gaining a bachelor’s degree in both fields to eventually become an economist,” says Scott. “The reason I would like to become an economist is because I thoroughly enjoy analyzing economic issues and want to help design policies in the future.”
Scott throughout her high school career has been involved in bringing racial equity to the forefront through such organizations as Roosevelt’s Black Student Union, where she served as president.
“I knew that immense changes needed to be made in Roosevelt’s culture and community based upon what my brothers had expressed to me,” says Scott of her brothers’ experiences.
“They had told stories of racism and unfair treatment by staff and students, and I wanted these situations to never happen to another student of color again,” she continued. “So, from the very first day at Roosevelt, I was looking for a group that was as driven as I was to change things for the better. I then found that very group called the Black Student Union, where I was a committed member for three consecutive years. I went from just a member in my freshman year, to Vice-President, and eventually President.”
Assaye is looking to attend New York Institute of Technology and pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and wants to see more women of color engage in the fields of STEM.
“I want to pursue a degree in Computer Science because I enjoy working with computers and I like learning more about the Basics programs,” says Assaye. “We don’t see women of color playing a big role in computer science, which makes me want to be a part of the change to get more women of color in the STEM field.”
Removing part of the financial burden associated with going to college or a trade school is very important when it comes to sustaining the education path of many students of color. The $5000 scholarship could mean the difference between taking on a large amount of debt or having to work many hours to pay for school, as opposed to being able focus on their educational pursuits.
According to RARE, The James A. Davis Jr. Memorial Scholarship will impact not only the recipients, but also their peers who then can imagine themselves being recognized and receiving a financial boost for their own accomplishments. Since recipients are being celebrated for their contributions to racial relations as well as their other achievements, this will have a positive impact on the overall racial atmosphere at Roosevelt High School and in its community.
“I applaud RARE’s establishment of the James A. Davis Jr. Memorial Scholarship for economically disadvantaged students of color who have helped to create a positive racial atmosphere at Roosevelt High School,” said Kristina Rodgers, Principal of Roosevelt High School
For more information on the RARE scholarship fund, please visit https://rhs4racialequity.org/james-a-davis-jr-scholarship.
The post “Roosevelt Alumni Awards Two $5,000 Scholarships To Deserving Students” Was originally published on seattlemedium.com