2022 Promising Futures Scholarship Ceremony
On Saturday, June 11th, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas held its 36th annual ‘Promising Futures’ scholarship ceremony to recognize the educational achievements and aspirations of our mentored Littles.
Rob Evans, KVUE morning anchor and former Big Brother, took the stage to welcome the graduates and Promisees, along with their families, as all gathered for the first in-person ceremony since 2019.
This year, more than $146,000 in scholarship funds were made available to 45 graduating seniors. In addition, $263,250 in scholarship funds were committed to 81 newly eligible Littles. These funds will become available once they graduate high school.
That’s almost $400,000 in scholarship funds provided and promised this year!
Dr. Kazique Prince, Founder and CEO of Jelani Consulting, LLC, was the keynote speaker for the event. Prince empowers individuals and organizations to be leaders in social innovation by providing resources and services to create meaningful change.
Prince grew up in the Fifth Ward of Houston, a “rough neighborhood,” where his family helped shape the man he is now; a father, business owner, educator, and Global Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at National Instruments.
“Take a moment to think about someone who has loved you into being,” Prince said. He shared how his support system helped him achieve his educational goals. “The importance of a support system that protects and pushes you toward the right direction is undeniable. These are the people who want the best for you.”
Little Brother and Promisee Christopher counts his mother, Victoria, and Big Brother, Michael, as his support system. He said being a BBBS Promisee motivates him to finish school and earn even more scholarships.
“As a single mother, I’m thankful for this opportunity,” Victoria said. “Christopher wants to go into the medical field, which is an expensive program, so any opportunity for scholarships is wonderful.”
BBBS’ scholarship program offers Littles a chance to earn $2,000, with the potential for an additional $500 per year, in scholarship funds if they graduate high school and pursue a post-secondary education.
Little Sister and graduate Carly attended the event with her mother, Alexis, and Big Sister Ashlyn. She and Ashlyn have been matched for five years.
“Besides my mom, I wanted someone in my life who could be a role model to me,” Carly said. “I love that I can just hang out and talk with Ashlyn.”
Carly plans to attend Texas State University to study criminal justice. She hopes to become a crime scene investigator.
“The BBBS scholarship is going to be a big help,” Alexis said. “It’ll motivate Carly to finish college and start a career.”
Due to COVID-19 concerns in 2020 and 2021, BBBS cancelled its usual in-person scholarship ceremony. Instead, the agency delivered treats and ‘congratulations’ yard signs to 40 high school graduates in 2020. Last year, a ‘drive-through’ celebration was held where students received certificates of achievement, treats, graduation swag, and yard signs.
“Today was a fantastic return to having an in-person ceremony,” BBBS’ CEO Leah Meunier said. “It was really inspiring to see our Promisees and graduates celebrate this milestone in their lives. I’m looking forward to continuing our growth in participation and partnerships.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas was the first BBBS agency in the nation to offer a scholarship program. Created in 1986 by an endowment from a local Austin family, the BBBS Scholarship Program has promised more than $7 million in scholarship funds to over 3,000 Littles since its inception.
“I want to leave you with simple advice,” Prince said. “Always be yourself. When things seem dark and uncertain, be who you are, work hard, and know your support system will be there for you.”
Following the ceremony, Bigs, Littles, and their families were able to enjoy refreshments, talk with agency employees, and capture fun moments in our photo booth.
See Scholarship Ceremony photos HERE