Monday, May 9, 2016

Young Leadership Council and UNO Announce Recipient of 2016 YLC Dumestre Scholarship

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The Young Leadership Council; Mary Dumestre and her husband, Guy Johnson; and the University of New Orleans are pleased to announce that Mahagony Keen, a senior at New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School (SciHigh) is the recipient of the inaugural 2016 YLC Dumestre Scholarship. The scholarship covers all expenses of a four-year education at the University of New Orleans, including tuition and fees, housing, meals and books.

The YLC Dumestre Scholarship, privately funded by New Orleanians Mary Dumestre and Guy Johnson, is administered through the Young Leadership Council’s College Admissions Project (C.A.P.) and is designed to recognize an exceptionally able high school senior who shows promise for continued excellence in postsecondary education. This highly competitive scholarship was extended to C.A.P. participants who also were accepted to the University of New Orleans for the fall 2016 semester. All candidates were required to submit an essay and application while top finalists were invited to sit for an interview with the scholarship review panel. Ms. Keen was selected among more than 10 scholarship hopefuls.

“My goal throughout high school was just to get into college. I surpassed that by getting into more than 10 universities. My next step was finding a way to fund it. To be awarded the YLC Dumestre Scholarship is a dream come true and a reminder to keep pushing forward no matter what,” Keen said.

“We started saving for our son's college education before he was born. He graduated debt free and now is working in New Orleans, contributing to make this city a better place for all,” Mary Dumestre said. “If we can afford to send another child to college, one who otherwise couldn't make it, we should. New Orleans becomes a better place when our children are given the education they need to succeed in life. My husband, Guy, and I owe our successes in life to education. We are both UNO graduates, and we believe that our community benefits from every student UNO touches. We were fortunate, as was our son, to have access to higher education. We are happy to be able to give this opportunity to Mahagony.”

“The University of New Orleans is grateful to Mary and Guy for their generosity in creating this scholarship,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “They clearly understand the transformative value of higher education as well as UNO’s important role in enriching the lives of so many students throughout the greater New Orleans area. We are thrilled that Mahagony will be joining us in the fall as the YLC Dumestre Scholarship recipient.”

“The generosity of Mary and Guy likely has changed the course of this student’s life. The YLC is grateful that they see the importance of the College Admissions Project, and is deeply moved by their selfless offer of a debt-free college experience to a young New Orleanian,” said Stephanie Powell, YLC Executive Director. “A college education is out of reach financially for too many of our young men and women. We have estimated that the all-inclusive cost for one-year at UNO, considering tuition, fees, books, housing, and meals, is approximately $20,000. Our greatest hope is that this generous scholarship not only makes an incredible difference in Ms. Keen’s future, but that it also inspires others to create similar scholarships or to contribute to a larger, long-lasting scholarship fund.”

The College Admissions Project is one of YLC’s 15 volunteer-led community service projects, and is led by project leaders Mark Clayton and Christina Hendrick. The project, currently partnered with International High School of New Orleans, SciHigh, and Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, aims to increase the local college admissions rate by pairing high school juniors and seniors with a YLC volunteer to help navigate the college admissions process. Many of the students involved in C.A.P. will be the first in their family to earn a college degree.