Scripps College Academy Honored by First Lady

Berenice Villela '12Staff Writer

The Scripps College Academy (SCA) has been holding onto amazing news for quite some time now, but finally was able to let the cat out of the bag on October 20th, when SCA founding faculty member and Dean of Faculty Amy Marcus-Newhall and high-school junior and SCA Scholar Raemi Thomas attended a White House ceremony, hosted by none other than First Lady Michelle Obama. They were there on behalf of Scripps College, to received the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation's highest honor for a community-based arts and humanities youth program.

The Scripps College Academy, established in 2002, provides high-achieving young women from the greater Los Angeles area and the Inland Empire with the resources and experiences to prepare for success in college. Ninety-percent of participants will be the first in their families to attend college. All programs are offered at no cost to the students or their families.

A year-round college-readiness program, SCA initiatives include SCA Scholars, a multi-year experience beginning with an academically intensive summer residential program for students in the 9th and 10th grade, followed by academic workshops, science research opportunities, SAT/ACT prep classes, college application assistance, and personalized support throughout high school.

Demand for SCA services continues to rise. Since 2008, the applicant pool has grown by 400%, to more than 400 applicants for just 45 spaces in 2010.

In addition to the SCA Scholars program, the Scripps College Academy hosts numerous programs for students in the local community, including weekly tutoring on the Scripps College campus and middle school "College Clubs" at four local schools each year.

SCA Scholars benefit from the support and guidance of Scripps College students, staff, and faculty. Scripps professors play an important role in the program, and 39% of current faculty have taught in the program. In total, the SCA Scholars programs benefit approximately 100 students each year, with .. (choose your examples... a monthly book clubs, , Financial Aid/College Prep Workshop series, or through The Math and Science Scholars Program, where college professors and undergraduate lab assistants help a small group of SCA students to design, implement, evaluate and present and original scientific research project. Additional community outreach programs serve more than 200 students each year.

Kelly Hewitt, Scripps Class of 2008 and Director of Scripps College Academy, shared with me her excitement about receiving the award and finally being able to share the great news with the Scripps community: “SCA has been extremely successful in helping students who already have the motivation to excel in higher education by giving them the resources and the support which they may lack in their home schools and communities.”

Scripps College Academy fills in the gap, hosting college preparatory and academically enriching workshops and programs that nine out of ten SCA participants feel makes them “better prepared” and “more confident” about applying to college.

Scripps College is one of three colleges and universities to receive the 2010 award which is, Hewitt argues, “A confirmation of the fact that colleges and universities are not just preparing traditional college-age students to be leaders, but have an important impact on our larger communities. It’s such a great thing that Scripps, through the Scripps College Academy, is investing in our larger community as well as in our current students.” One of 15 programs across the country to receive this award, SCA was chosen from a pool of more than 400 nominations and 50 finalists.

The outcomes and successes of the Scripps College Academy explain why they would win this prestigious award. One-hundred percent of the SCA 2010 graduates were admitted to 4 year colleges (90% response rate), with 90% of SCA participants being the first in their families to attend college. The impact SCA has been able to have in our surrounding community is nothing short of exemplary of the mission of Scripps.

Kelly concludes, “we’ve been holding on to this news for a little bit of time and it’s been so exciting to prepare and it’s wonderful to see it finally shared with the community… it really is a shared award with all our partners throughout the LA area and all of the Scripps College staff, faculty and students who have worked so hard to make this program a success.” For more information, please visit