Rollins College Honors Urban Youth with Senior Dinner

Hamilton Holt School to provide four scholarships to graduates of mentoring program

The Hamilton Holt School hosted a dinner on April 29 to celebrate 45 local high school seniors who are graduating with the guidance of ELEVATE Orlando, a mentoring program for underserved communities.

Starting this fall, the College also will provide a full four-year scholarship to one graduating ELEVATE Orlando student during each of the next four years. Those four full scholarships are through the Rollins Evening Emerging Leaders (REEL) Scholarship Program.

David CS Richard, dean of the Hamilton Holt School praised the College’s partnership with ELEVATE Orlando, a program for students from Pine Hills and Holden Heights that teaches character and leadership development while providing 24/7 mentoring and post-secondary educational planning. 

“Working with ELEVATE Orlando to provide this opportunity for students is a significant endeavor for our evening school,” Richard said. “The mission of the College is to provide a high quality, liberal arts education. As a top provider of undergraduate and graduate education for adult students in Central Florida for over 50 years, it is natural that the Holt School would partner with an outstanding community organization like ELEVATE Orlando.”

Jim Patterson, COO/Vice President of ELEVATE Orlando, applauded the efforts of the students and the support from Rollins.

“A growing partnership with Rollins College, specifically the Hamilton Holt Evening School, allows ELEVATE Orlando to offer greater post-secondary opportunities to the urban youth we serve. By hosting our Annual Senior Dinner, Rollins is providing a time of celebration for our graduating class of 45 seniors. Through adversity, these students have reached their goal to graduate with a plan for the future. ELEVATE Orlando is deeply grateful for the support of Rollins College is giving to our organization and the urban youth of Central Florida,” Patterson said.

For the past five years, ELEVATE Orlando has worked to positively impact the Evans and Oak Ridge High School communities. Teacher/Mentors are faced with the daily challenges of the students, which range from peer pressure to street violence, school suspensions to abusive home life, and even gang affiliation. Approximately 75 percent of the students are from single-parent homes or live with a guardian other than their biological parent. Many of the families have incomes below the poverty level. For many years, these area schools have ranked among the highest in Florida in truancy, suspension, dropout rates, and lowest graduation rates.

The full-tuition scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student seeking a degree within the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College. Scholarship applicants must live within a 60-mile radius of Rollins College, be a Florida resident, and be a graduate of ELEVATE Orlando. Although a goal of both partners is to increase the number of students from urban Orlando at Rollins College, the scholarship award will be made based on applicant qualifications, not ethnicity or racial characteristics.  To learn more about the Rollins College REEL Scholarship and other scholarship offerings at the Hamilton Holt School, please visit The REEL Scholarship deadline is May 31, 2014.

Other scholarship opportunities available this fall include the Tupperware Scholarship for Leadership in Urban Communities which provides two scholarships of $4,000 to qualifying graduates of ELEVATE Orlando.