ESJ Alumni giving back with scholarships

Published 12:11 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

RESERVE — The East St. John Alumni Association, formed in August, is building a presence in the community and bolstering high school seniors with 10 scholarship opportunities.

Alumni Association member Demetria Robinson-Carter said the overwhelming success of October’s tailgate reunion, which attracted 709 alumni from across the nation, inspired the group to continue supporting East St. John High.

With a son in public school, it’s also important for Carter to remind students the future is theirs to seize.

“I think it’s important for the students to see us in the community and know that a public school education can be a pathway to be whatever you want to be,” Carter said.

“I want them to know they are just as good as everyone else. You never hear about the good things that go on at East St. John, like the thousands of dollars in scholarships that go out to students at the end of the year.”

The East St. John Alumni Association is awarding an additional $8,000 in scholarship money to 10 students this May.

Applications are due April 1, and the response so far has been incredible, according to Alumni Association member Paula Henderson.

“There’s been a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of applicants,” Henderson said. “Some of the English classes are doing our essay prompts as writing assignments.

“We think the number of applicants will end up in the hundreds.”

ESJ Alumni Association membership fees fund scholarships, according to Henderson.

In August, the ESJ Alumni Association banded together to replicate large-scale homecoming game efforts at West St. John High and St. James High.

It took less than two months for the group to collect a whopping $20,000 and attract alumni from California to Georgia. The money raised also supports East St. John’s athletic programs and student activities, Henderson said.

The 2018 scholarship application targets a wide range of students in the following five categories: (1) Band, sugarettes, majorettes, dance team flag team, choir; (2) students accepted to a technical, vocational or two-year college; (3) student athletes with a GPA of 2.5 or higher; (4) students accepted to a four-year college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; and (5) students who are active members of other clubs.

Applicants must provide a sealed transcript, a 500-word essay, a college acceptance letter and two letters of recommendation.

Henderson said essay topics must be selected from the list provided on the application, adding most give students a platform to express their opinion on social concerns and current events.

Additional scholarship information can be found under “News” on ESJH’s home page.

Henderson said members are planning to host two major fundraisers a year, a tailgate in the fall and another event in the spring, starting next school year.

This spring, Henderson said members want to line the hallways of East St. John to cheer students on the morning of final exams.

Themed “Bridging the Generational Gap” for 2018, the ESJ Alumni Association is welcoming alumni from the old, segregated Leon Godchaux and Fifth Ward high schools to join in the next tailgate.

Former ESJH students who switched schools prior to graduation are also invited.

Carter said the Alumni Association’s success would not have been possible without the support of the School Board, the Sheriff’s Office, ESJH staff and Athletic Director Alden Foster.

Connect with Esjalumni reunion on Facebook or email to learn more. Donations to the ESJ Alumni Foundation can be mailed to P.O. Box 2682, Reserve LA, 70084.