Seattle Foundation Blog

Scholarship Created to Help Immigrants Attend College

"Work hard, stay in school and I will pay your way to go to college." -- Loren Smith


June 01, 2016

By Stuart Eskenazi. This article was first published in Seattle Foundation's Heart and Science Volume 1.

Elementary school teacher Loren Smith has kept the promise she once made to her students who were immigrants of paying for their college if they worked hard and stayed in school.

A partnership with Seattle Foundation, started in 1998, lead Smith to create this scholarship for English Language Learner (ELL) students wanting to further their education.

With the original focus on helping the 20 young students whom she had first promised to pay the way for, Smith’s scholarship has since helped over 130 students. This scholarship is one of a few that focuses on ELL students.

Inspired by her students’ eagerness and enthusiasm to learn in the classroom regardless of challenges and tragedies they have faced as immigrants, Smith became a certified ELL teacher in Seattle.

“These kids are so incredibly deserving,” said Smith. “Even at a young age, they realize they have to work twice as hard because they lack English proficiency. They show tremendous dedication and perseverance to learn the language and also do well in school.”

Many of these students do not have the opportunity to attend college due to financial constraints or family obligations. With this in mind, Smith extended the scholarship to reach ELL students in the entire state of Washington.

Almost all [these students] express a desire to apply what they will learn in college to improve the health of their communities,” said Smith.

The Nora Stone Smith Scholarship is one of approximately 50 scholarships that Seattle Foundation manages to create equity and opportunity for students needing financial assistance.

“Seattle Foundation has helped me fine-tune the scholarship to be my vision of what I want it to be,” said Smith. “I love working with the staff because they’ve been so responsive to my ideas for making the application process more accessible to students with limited English proficiency.”

To learn more about how you can support students or to apply for a scholarship fund visit our scholarships page.

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