Wilson student Will Davis was surprised by family members, administrators, and the President of George Washington University in the principal’s conference room on Wednesday afternoon, where he was told that he had received the university’s prestigious Stephen Joel Trachtenberg scholarship.
The SJT scholarship, which covers full tuition to GW along with room and board, has been awarded to DC students annually since 1989 with the intention of increasing access to college for DC students. “We do this in part as an expression of our commitment to the city, and also because we want to get the message out to all students and families across the District of Columbia that college is a possibility in their future,” said GW President Steven Knapp. Applicants are nominated by their school counselors, and are selected carefully by GW based on their academic qualifications, interests, leadership abilities, and their engagement in their school and community. “We look for students who will be leaders after they graduate,” said GW President Steven Knapp. According to Knapp, GW receives thousands of applications every year. Will was one in only ten DC students to be awarded the scholarship.
Linda Wanner, a former assistant principal at Wilson who has known Will since he was young, was not surprised when she heard the news. “He’s a very bright man, and he’s going to wonderful things. He’s so deserving of this,” she said. Throughout high school, Will has volunteered at the Lowell School, City CPR, and the Capital Area Food Bank while taking rigorous classes at Wilson. He is currently interning with the Urban Alliance at the World Bank, and hopes to continue this internship in college. Attending GW would allow him the proximity to do this, which is one of the reasons that it’s an “ideal school,” according to Will.
Will’s parents heard the news on Friday, and had to keep it to the themselves until the surprise on Wednesday. “I knew that something good would come out of Wilson. I knew that DCPS works for kids,” said Celita Davis, Will’s mother. “I am filled with so much joy.”
Principal Martin shared this sentiment. “We are so proud of Will, and so happy for his family. What’s even more spectacular is that his entire family is here: his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. It’s just a lovely thing,” she said.
In college, Will plans to major in business, and he hopes to pursue a career in finance after graduating. As for now, he is shocked and happy. “This is surreal,” said Will. “It feels like a dream.”
PHOTO BY WILL HAMLIN