Blair students receive full-tuition Posse scholarships

Feb. 8, 2018, 8:39 p.m. | By Mahnaz Habib | 6 years, 4 months ago

The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential

Ten Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) students were selected for full-tuition, four-year college scholarships from the Posse Foundation, a program which identifies public high school students with outstanding academic and leadership potential but have been overlooked by the traditional college selection process. Out of these ten MCPS students, three Blair seniors were selected: Marc Monteil, Darien Price and Samuel Teshome.

Monteil will be attending Sewanee, University of the South. She highly encourages that seniors apply for this scholarship if they get the opportunity. Photo courtesy of Victoria Sampson.

Deborah Bial, an education strategist, founded the Posse Foundation in 1989 after she heard a student say, "I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me." Bial created the foundation to give students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in multicultural teams, or "posses," of ten students. These students are carefully selected and trained, and can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development. This is an outside of school process where students engage in several leadership and community building activities to show their skills and abilities. As the U.S. becomes increasingly multicultural, Posse believes that the leaders of this new century should reflect the rich demographic mix, and that is the key to a promising future.

The first step to applying for the Posse Scholarship is to be nominated either by another scholar, administrator or teacher. There are a series of three interviews, both individual and with one's posse group. Rather than focusing on SAT scores and grades, the interviewers focus on the student's personality, leadership skills and values. "They look more into what you do outside of school, how you are as a leader, how you treat other people and what your beliefs are. It's not as much about your grades but the kind of person you are," Monteil said.

According to Price, the process also includes several group activities that give the students an opportunity to get to know their posse groups. "You get into small groups and do teamwork activities, like creating a PSA [Public Service Announcement] or building a little lego sculpture... It's a chance to show our leadership and community skills," Price said.

Price was paired with Lafayette college, which was ultimately the best fit for him although not his first choice.  Photo courtesy of Victoria Sampson.

Posse is partnered with 56 top colleges and universities all over America. After a student makes it through each of the interviews, their posse trainer will assign them to a college which seems to be their best fit. Price's first choice was University of Rochester, but he was ultimately paired with Lafayette college. He was glad his trainer took the time to get to know him to pick a college that best suits his academic potential. "Although my first choice was University of Rochester, I was paired with Lafayette college, and one thing I really appreciate them doing is spending the time to look into what the best choice is for me," Price said. Teshome was paired with University of Rochester and Monteil will be attending Sewanee, University of the South.

The Posse Foundation emphasizes the importance of a group of diverse students who have great academic potential, an ability to work well as a team and exceptional leadership skills. Price enjoyed the process of applying and appreciated the dedication the trainers have for each student in a posse group. "They really apply themselves. It's very untraditional and helps a lot of students who are struggling to pass the test scores," said Price. Monteil encourages other students to apply when they are nominated, because many have ignored the opportunity and regretted it. "I would encourage future seniors to apply. It might not be a guarantee you will get in, but just give it a try, you get to meet really great people. A lot of people made the mistake of ignoring it, so definitely apply if you get the opportunity," Monteil said.

Tags: college applications college Blazers Posse Scholarship

Mahnaz Habib. Hi! I'm Mahnaz and am a staff writer. I love to hang out with friends, read, and watch Stranger Things. I also dance and play the violin. More »

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