Scholars Stories

Each year the St. Paul Central High School Foundation selects 13 seniors as Foundation Scholars based on their academic performance, community involvement, and success in the face of adversity.

Isadora Swann, ’20 – Central High School Foundation Scholar.
“I am so excited to be spending a gap year abroad as a part of a six month german exchange program led by the US Congress and German Bundestag. I will then be attending University of Southern California in LA where I will be studying acting. I am so honored and grateful to receive this scholarship. As a young woman going into the performing arts I am keenly aware of the challenges that lie ahead. I will constantly have to be working to secure my next job and paycheck. These funds are helping me to actualize my dreams and focus on my creative success instead of monetary stresses. I am looking forward to an amazing four years of college and am so thankful for Central for making me the person I am today. “

Jalen Jackson, ’18 – Philando Castile Scholar.

“I’m a junior Biology major at Alcorn State University studying to become a physical/occupational therapist. I’ve made the dean’s list every semester at Alcorn (3.5+ gpa) and made the President’s list this past spring semester (4.0 gpa). I’m in multiple organizations and very actively involved on campus.”

Ellen Carlson-Berkley, ’18 – Nancy Berkley Scholar.

I am currently back on campus at Haverford College, with a mix of online and partially in-person classes. This is the start of my junior year, and I am double-majoring in Growth and Structure of Cities and Physics.

Robel Asmelash, ’18 – Central High School Foundation Scholar.

“I’m currently at the University of Minnesota, majoring in business marketing and education. I am also working part-time with U.S. Bank as an analyst.”

Bolutife Olanrewaju, ’17, was a recipient of the Mary Mackbee Scholarship in 2017 and is currently attending the University of Chicago.

“For me, the Mary Mackbee Legacy Scholarship means greater peace of mind. I rely on financial aid and scholarships to attend the University of Chicago. As a result of the scholarship, I have been able to cover expenses that would have otherwise made my college experience more difficult. The peace of mind that I have gained through the Mary Mackbee Legacy Scholarship means that I can spend my time receiving a great education and building my future.”

Padah Vang, ’15, was a recipient of the Mary Mackbee Scholarship in 2015 and is currently wrapping up her final year at Colorado College. She reflects:

“As a first-generation and low-income student of color, Mary Mackbee Scholarship helped to relieve financial stress during my first year. Those expenses included airfare between Colorado and Minnesota, textbooks, and school supplies. During my four years at Colorado College (CC), I have met some of the most amazing people whom I believe would be my life-long friends. I have also had the privilege to study abroad in China, Bali, and Greece. I have gained personal, academic, social, and professional skills that will serve me beyond CC. I want to thank the Mark Mackbee Scholarship for supporting me as a scholar.”

We are proud to see the benefits of the Mary Mackbee Scholarship years down the road and are excited to see Padah continue onward!

Marques Watson-Taylor ’17 was the first recipient of the Philando Castile Scholarship. He wrote “before I received this scholarship I had no idea how I was going to take care of some of the college costs. The scholarship is well appreciated.”  The Pioneer Press  and Upworthy ran a stories about this incredible young man in June, 2017.

Mai Yer Xiong, ’10 is a first-generation college graduate who benefited from the Central High School Foundation Scholarship in 2010. Mai Yer holds a BA in Economics and Spanish from Wellesley College where she focused her studies on inequality, social policy, and feminism. As the daughter of working-class immigrant parents, Mai Yer used the funds to pay for the expected family contribution portion of her tuition fees which her parents could not have afforded. Given Mai Yer’s family background and her passion for economics and social equality, she aspires to work with high-impact poverty alleviation and development efforts that target marginalized communities. She has worked with microfinance efforts in Guatemala and Bolivia, immigration advocacy in the United States, food security assistance in the Latin America region with the United Nations WFP and treasury services with the Federal Reserve Bank. Recently, she was a “Princeton in Asia” Regional Research Fellow for Population Services International in Laos.