2020 Named Scholarship Recipients
Over the years, some of our donors have contributed to scholarships created to honor specific individuals or groups. Below are the profiles of the 2020 Named Scholarship awardees.
Decorate a Vet Scholarship
Anthony was well-known to the Justice High School community. Teachers and classmates knew him through the advanced courses he took en route to an IB diploma. Other students knew him because he tutored some of them in their coursework. Coaches and teammates knew him from his years on the wrestling, lacrosse, and football teams. (People outside Justice knew Anthony, too. He maintained close ties with his family’s hometown in Bolivia through occasional visits there and participated in two Virginia-based Bolivian dance groups.) Teachers and coaches who knew him spoke of his “positivity,” his work ethic, and his leadership skills. Perhaps these are why Decorate a Vet is supporting Anthony’s goal of a higher education by giving him a scholarship to attend Virginia Tech and study computer science. (Decorate a Vet is a non-profit organization that decorates yards and homes of war veterans.)
Jeremy Munga Scholarship
The Jeremy Munga Scholarship recognizes the vital role the Justice Athletic Department plays in the school community. This year’s recipient, Muaz, was described by his counselor as the epitome of student athlete, and one of the kindest students she has ever encountered. One of his teachers stated he brought the mentality of an athlete to the classroom, by which he meant bettering the self through supporting the whole. Muaz was a three-season athlete who played football, wrestled, and was on the track and field team. He also worked in physical education for disabled students. His parents immigrated to America from Eritrea, and Muaz says that in seeing his family struggle, he learned to work hard for what you want in life. Muaz is working to become a certified personal trainer to earn money that will make his dream—graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in cybersecurity—a reality.
Harriet "Ozzi" Mask Scholarship
The Ozzie Mask Scholarship is awarded to a student who wishes to pursue his or her education in education, journalism, music, or theater. Justin, this year’s recipient, is an accomplished violist who described music as his passion, learning hard work and diligence through his musical journey. Justin is a member of Justice’s advanced orchestra, district honors orchestra, senior regional orchestra, and was a Fairfax Symphony 2019 All Star. He was also an athlete, running for the cross country and track and field teams, while taking a full IB course load. It is no wonder his teachers described him as disciplined and motivated. They also described his incredible resilience as he powered through difficult life experiences, while bringing compassion, heart, a bright smile, and a school spirit “that radiates in the halls and out in the community.” Justin plans on studying biology with the intent of becoming a pediatrician. Virginia Tech, which granted Justin a Presidential Award, is where he will study this fall.
Norene Thomas Scholarship
Leadership, passion, loyalty, and authentic are all words teachers used to describe Tim. He was the Senior Class President, Co-President and founder of the Robotics Club, drumline and percussion captain (not to mention first in District and first Stuart/Justice student to make it into the All-Virginia band in percussion), and a two-season varsity athlete. But these accomplishments do not truly describe Tim, who before high school fell in with an abusive group of friends. He made a commitment to turn his life around, earning him the title of “come-back kid” from his counselor. He enjoyed volunteering at an assisted living facility and tutoring elementary school children in math while working part-time. Tim is passionate about music and social justice and will begin his studies at Northern Virginia Community College, where he will study economics and political science with an eye toward a career in law. Tim was awarded the Noreen Thomas Scholarship, which honors a former Stuart parent, PTSA member, and Band Booster volunteer.
Svendsen Memorial Scholarship
Ahmad’s journey was described best by his math teacher who said when she first met Ahmad, he had been in the U.S. for only 4 months, had limited English proficiency, and lacked confidence. In four years, he went from an Algebra support class to Honors Algebra 2 to a full IB course load—a huge accomplishment. Ahmad described his struggles, particularly with language, which began in Afghanistan, where, until fourth grade, there was no actual school. Since arriving in the U.S., Ahmad has not only worked extremely hard at academics, but has devoted himself to learning Tae Kwon Do, where he learned respect, control, and how to give back to the new students. Ahmad plans to study engineering at George Mason University because, as he says, he loves building and creating. Ahmad is a recipient of the Svendsen Memorial Scholarship. This award honors Nancy and Eric Svendsen, who were married for 38 years, had close ties with Stuart High School, and devoted their lives to helping people in the international community.
Reyna arrived from El Salvador four years ago, and as her English teacher wrote, progressed beyond expectations in her language studies, showing a determination to achieve academic success and fluency in English. Reyna said her singing in the school choir greatly accelerated her learning English. She described her overriding goal as helping people. After school and on the weekends, when she was not caring for her younger sibling, she worked at INOVA Hospital bringing food to patients in cancer and post-operative recovery wards, where she says, “sometimes a smile of kindness can cheer a person.” She will attend Northern Virginia Community College and hopes to pursue a career in the legal field. She is the first in her family to attend college. Reyna is also a recipient of the Svendsen Memorial Scholarship.
The Step It Up Foundation Scholarship
Deily joined her sister in the United States four years ago and immediately undertook two tasks: beginning high school at Justice and learning English. It was rough at first—she felt embarrassment at not knowing what her teachers were saying to her. But soon frustration turned to resolve and she began learning English. In short order she became a friend and mentor to many of her classmates and also helped ESOL teachers welcome new students to the school. One of Deily’s advisors said “every community she touches is made better by her presence and work” and a teacher called her a “stellar young lady.” Her goal is to enter the medical profession so she can continue helping others. Deily begins her post-Justice educational journey at Northern Virginia Community College with the help of a scholarship from The Step It Up Foundation ().
Josue wants to become a police officer, and he knows achieving this goal will be hard work. But he is no stranger to challenges. He started high school knowing almost no English. Despite being an ESOL learner for the first three years at Justice, Josue earned mostly As and Bs. Along the way he impressed his teachers with his resilience and optimistic outlook. Family circumstances forced him to work 40 hours per week on top of being a full-time high school student. At the same time, Josue helped take care of a younger brother—while also trying to be a role model for him. However, Josue is a young man with a plan. With assistance from The Step It Up Foundation (), he will study criminology and criminal justice at Northern Virginia Community College, transfer to a four-year program, graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and eventually join a police force in Virginia.
Stuart/Justice HS Class of 1978 Scholarship
Gary faced challenges in the first 15 years of his life that would have left many of us doubting our ability to go on. Yet not only did he get on with his life, he thrived during his time at Justice High School. He was a member of multiple honor societies, he tutored and mentored an ESOL student at the school, and he earned an IB diploma. During his high school years Gary also helped his single-parent mother at home by cooking, cleaning, and taking care of a younger brother. In addition, he was active in the youth group of his church—helping in the food pantry, preparing meals for the homeless, participating in peaceful demonstrations for causes he felt were just, organizing fundraisers to pay for outreach and youth ministry trips. It’s because of Gary’s character and actions that the Stuart/Justice Class of 1978 awarded him a scholarship. Gary will use this gift to pursue a degree in biology at Virginia Tech.