2023 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 2023 named scholarship awardees.
Dan is this year’s recipient of JHSSF’s Ambassador Scholarship, awarded for four years to a student who has the talent and ambition to complete a four-year degree and who will be a good ambassador for the greater Justice HS community. As a child in Bolivia, Dan befriended and assisted a homeless man, learning an important lesson that, in his words, “every human inhabited a side of warmth and growth.” He took that lesson with him when he realized the amount of food insecurity present in his neighborhood, which led him to establish and run a food distribution site at Bailey’s Elementary and Woodrow Wilson Library. In seventh grade, Dan became a part of the Early Identification Program, offered by George Mason University, where he worked in labs and participated in workshops in physics, biology, and cybersecurity. Through the program, he discovered a love of research and plans to use this love when studying for a degree in biomedical research at Virginia Tech. As the first in his family to attend college, he is determined to repay his parents for their hard work and sacrifices.
Decorate a Vet Scholarship
The Decorate A Vet organization honors Northern Virginia veterans whose service allows us all to lead freer lives. They award their annual scholarship to accomplished Justice seniors with a commitment to the ideals of liberty, duty, and service. Richard and Edwin demonstrated this commitment.
Already serving as an E-2 Private 2nd Class in the U.S. Army Reserves, Richard aims to become a military officer after graduating from George Mason University and participating in its ROTC program. Being in the military gives him “the opportunity to serve and protect [his] country while learning and exploring the world.” Teachers and supervisors noted Richard’s inquisitive and curious nature, a “strong sense of discipline, interest in learning, and focus on serving the larger community.” These are precisely the traits the Decorate A Vet Scholarship honors.
An International Baccalaureate diploma candidate and first-generation college student, Edwin wants to be a video game developer and designer. He values liberty and believes the granting and protecting of liberties is a core purpose of government. It’s the “heart and soul of the United States.” Edwin embraces the broader value of video games as an opportunity and tool for creative expression and to discuss real world issues without censorship. Through video games, Edwin wants to create experiences that will captivate and impact the lives of many. This is emblematic of the ideals of liberty, duty, and service. Edwin will study at George Mason University in the fall.
Jennifer Discua Hernandez Memorial Scholarship
The Jennifer Discua Hernandez Scholarship is awarded to an English learner who embodies Jennifer’s grace and indomitable spirit and who will attend Northern Virginia Community College. This year’s recipient, Rubi, is a member of the Ambassador Program that helps students who are new to the country get acclimated with their classes and being a student at Justice HS. Having been a new learner of English herself, she nevertheless pushed herself to take several International Baccalaureate classes. Her discipline, helping nature, and sense of responsibility come through in the jobs she works to help support her family, the support she provides in her church, and the administrative support role she plays within Justice. She plans to join the Army Reserve as well as study nursing. Her goal is to become a neonatal nurse or midwife because she loves babies and wants to help them be healthy.
Jeremy Munga Scholarship
Israel was an outstanding scholar, athlete, and leader at Justice HS. He achieved a near-perfect GPA while taking many honors and International Baccalaureate courses. He lettered for three years in football, basketball, and track and was captain of the football and basketball teams. Israel’s goal was to lead with positivity on the field, in the school, and in life generally. His coach described Israel as “an amazing role model, peer, son, brother, teammate, and friend who significantly impacted our school community.” At Washington and Lee University, he is headed for success playing sports and studying psychology with the aim of becoming a sports psychologist. Israel is a devoted son and brother. He believes succeeding in college is the perfect way to thank his mother for her strength and support all the years she raised him and his younger sister. Israel is the recipient of the Jeremy Munga Scholarship, an award created in 2017 in memory and honor of another beloved scholar-athlete from Justice HS.
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. Katherine, this year’s recipient, will study elementary education at James Madison University. She wanted to become a teacher because her own elementary school teacher made her feel she belonged there and had the ability to learn when she felt intimidated on the first day. She has been preparing herself by serving as a mentor at a local elementary school, taking a class called Teaching For Tomorrow, and advising girls as a youth group leader at Saint Anthony. She shows leadership and maturity as the managing editor of the yearbook, balancing encouragement and accountability. Katherine’s Justice teachers see her demonstrating strengths of great teachers already, such as jumping in to help fellow students who are struggling and holding others accountable to perform at the level she knows they are capable of.
Noreen Thomas Scholarship
Hank started his music career at age four and by middle school had mastered four instruments. He then fell in love with the cello and with the help of dedicated teachers pursued this instrument and trained himself to read music. Hank feels he has benefited from the DC area community of teachers and musicians, and he participates in this community as a student, a performer, and as a teacher himself. He performs any chance he gets, often with the District of Columbia Youth Orchestra Program. His orchestra teacher writes he was a leader in their class, always helping his classmates, and he enjoyed visiting middle and elementary schools to guide the younger musicians. While pursuing his musical development, Hank maintained a stellar GPA, taking many difficult honors and International Baccalaureate courses. Through his studies in Virginia Tech’s music department, he is sure to achieve his goal of becoming a solo cellist. Hank is the recipient of a scholarship in honor of the late Norene Thomas, an ardent supporter of our school’s band program.
Nancy and Eric Svendsen Memorial Scholarship
Lesly began to learn English when she came to this country as a fifth grader. During her years at Justice HS, according to her counselor, Lesly was excited every day about her opportunity to learn. She tackled nine honors and International Baccalaureate courses, achieving a very good GPA. She was always quick to offer help to new students as they tried to communicate with others. One teacher wrote Lesly “believes that community comes before self and happiness is reached through serving others.” Lesly lives up to this philosophy by tutoring young children every Saturday and caring for her younger siblings. She is sure to bring her enthusiasm for learning and service to her future studies at Northern Virginia Community College and beyond, fulfilling her dream of being the first in her family to earn a university degree. Lesly is the recipient of the Svenson Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the late Nancy Svenson, who was a beloved ESOL teacher at our high school for sixteen years.
Nancy J. Weisgerber Scholarship
Honoring Nancy Weisgerber, a former principal of Stuart HS, the Weisgerber Scholarship celebrates her commitment to education and concern for, and belief in, the goodness of others. Like the scholarship’s namesake, Robert, this year’s recipient, intends to become a teacher and is known for his kindness and steadfast support of others. As president of Justice Minds Matter, Robert used his own experience with depression to help other students and promote mental health awareness. The son of El Salvadoran immigrants, Robert also looks after his younger sister, translates for his parents, and shares his culture at school and in the community—including serving as the lead chambelan for a friend’s quinceañera celebration. Robert will study history at Virginia Tech, and he intends to step outside his comfort zone, taking every opportunity to learn, grow, and elevate his self-confidence.
Started in 2023 by a grateful alum, the Resilience Scholarship is awarded to a student who not only has demonstrated his or her commitment to academic excellence and pursuit of a four-year college degree, but also has displayed courage, compassion, and curiosity on the journey. The Resilience Scholarship affords the opportunity to receive four years—a total of up to $10,000—of awards. Anthony was chosen as the first awardee both because of his academic excellence, which includes an A average, impressive as an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate, but also because of what he has overcome to achieve this. Anthony is the first in his family to graduate from high school and the first to go to college. While Anthony was active in clubs at school, his primary responsibility was to help take care of his younger sister and manage the home while his single mother worked long hours. In eighth grade, facing low grades, Anthony set a goal to bring his grades up and make the honor role. When he achieved it, in his own words, “I realized how much I loved to work hard.” And work hard he did, taking advantage of Justice’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program and learning about the value of a college education. He now cannot wait to gain skills and knowledge at James Madison University he’ll need to own and manage his own business.