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Make It Happen Students Win Step Up Awards

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Make It Happen Students Win Step Up Awards
Posted on 12/11/2018
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The Foundation for Portland Public Schools is thrilled to announce that two Portland High School students have been chosen to receive the inaugural Step Up Award.

Beni Nkashama, a senior, and Mariam Douale, a junior, will each receive $1,250 per semester until graduation to offset the need to work after school and/or on weekends so that they can participate in extracurricular activities. 

 An award ceremony will take place on Friday, Dec. 14, in the Make It Happen classroom at PHS.

 The Step Up Award at Portland High School provides a funding award for students in the Make It Happen program who would otherwise have to forego school-year extracurricular opportunities in order to work after school and/or on weekends.

 Make It Happen (MIH) is a college readiness program designed for high school English language learner (ELL) students. Students who attend Portland’s three high schools work closely with site coordinators, volunteers, and community partners to build competitive academic profiles for college admission and learn how to navigate and access financial aid.  In addition, MIH students are encouraged to take challenging classes, improve their standardized test scores, engage in leadership activities, community service, and career readiness opportunities.

The Step Up Award is the creation of Ann and Bill Weber, parents of two PHS graduates, who state: “We know kids are more motivated to come to school because of extracurricular activities, and the opportunity to work as a team or lead a group effort is invaluable to growth and developing leadership skills and can often lead to better grades. Many kids aren’t able to take full advantage of extracurricular activities because of family responsibilities or the need to supplement the family income. The Step Up Award allows deserving kids a chance to grow and mature and become more productive citizens.”

 Current juniors and seniors in the MIH program at Portland High School were eligible for the inaugural pilot award cycle. Students were invited to apply for a $1,250.00/per semester award that will repeat until they graduate as long as the students remain in good standing academically, and are able to demonstrate engagement in extracurricular activities that they would not otherwise have been able to access.

 According to PPS Superintendent Xavier Botana, “Portland is fortunate to have public school alumni and alumni families who understand that full engagement in the educational opportunities available in our schools is key to success in school and life. I am so grateful that the Weber family is willing to invest in helping some of our most talented students to access these opportunities fully. I hope that their example will lead others to help our Foundation improve the opportunities available to our students.”

For more information, please contact FPPS Executive Director Kate Snyder at 207-842-4658 or ksnyder@foundationforpps.org.