A Visit to Rainier Beach High

Today, Board member Barbara Winkelman and Advisory Board member Done Felder gave a presentation about the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship to Rainier Beach High School.


They presented a slide show and answered questions about the scholarship, offered to Rainier Beach for the first time. We are so proud to be part of PODS, their college prep program. Below is a an article about this new scholarship and Rainier Beach’s PODS program:

A new scholarship is available to the senior college-bound women of Rainier Beach High School, which honors Stanley Ann Dunham, the mother of President Barack Obama. The Dunham Scholarship awards a $5,000 scholarship to a high-school senior woman who demonstrate a commitment to education and public service. A graduate of the Mercer Island Class of 1960, Dunham took her first anthropology course at the University of Washington and went on to earn her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii.  She dedicated her career to working with marginalized communities around the world, especially women.

In 2010, a group of Dunham’s friends and classmates from Mercer Island High School, as well as Mercer Island community members, started the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund to award scholarships to female graduates of Mercer Island High School. After awarding 13 scholarships in the seven years of its existence, the Scholarship Fund will expand into Seattle at Rainier Beach High School. The additional scholarship, sponsored by an anonymous donor, fits perfectly into a structured program at Rainier Beach High School that helps seniors pursue higher education.  This program, the Point of Destination Secured–known as PODS—places a “pod” of five to seven seniors under the mentorship of students at the Dream Project at the University of Washington.

As Senior PODS coordinator Virginia Patu explains, “The mentors keep seniors accountable for completion of FAFSA (a financial form) and the personal essay, and applying to at least three colleges and for three scholarships.”

This year, the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship is one of those scholarships.

Principal Keith Smith, Head Counselor Dan Jurdy and Virginia Patu oversee PODS and develop close relationships with each student. These relationships have made an impact:

“PODS has been one of the main causes for the recent rise in graduation rates,” asserts Dwane Chappelle, Director of Education and Early Learning, City of Seattle and former Principal of Rainier Beach High. Chappelle, Patu and Jurdy created the PODS program which also ensures that all seniors graduate on time. In 2011 53% of the senior class graduated; by 2016 that number jumped to 81.5%.

“PODS is a program steeped in the same values that Stanley Ann Dunham championed,” notes Julie Biggs, member of the Board of the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund. “We are thrilled to be a part of it!”

Naomi Moore, a 2015 scholarship recipient and a sophomore at Seattle Central Community College, sums up how the scholarship impacts high school seniors: “To be honored by Dunham’s legacy by receiving such a prestigious scholarship in her name is the sort of recognition that motivates students like myself to remain committed to making an impactful difference in our lives and those of others.”

Scholarship applications are available to college-bound senior women in the counseling office at Rainier Beach High School, online at washboard.com and at the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship website, stanleyanndunhamfund.org, which has more information about the Scholarship. You can also email questions to admin@stanleyanndunhamfund.org.

Completed application and supplement materials are due by February 28th.