Leaders of Tomorrow: Posse Scholarship Winners

Seniors Lauren Ambe and Briana LaSanta are the two Blake winners among the thirteen MCPS students named recipients of the Posse scholarship full tuition to a four-year college.

The Posse program is a foundation that supports high school students with distinguished academics and are proven leaders, who may have been unnoticed by the college application process, by awarding full-tuition scholarships to attend Posse’s partner colleges and universities.

Both students are prominent leaders in the school. LaSanta has been the co-captain of the Cheerleaders, while Ambe is one of the leaders of the Black Student Union and co-editor chief of The Blake Beat newspaper.

Ambe found out about the scholarship through Aces, a program that our school has that helps low-income students, first-generation college students, through the college application process. To get into Posse, the senior has to be nominated by either a Posse member or the school after completing the application.

Ambe shared, β€œI felt lucky to have my college counselor, Dr. Mekonen, who was able to nominate me for the Posse program because she knew that I wanted to go out-of-state and she believed that I would be able to go through the process and get the scholarship”.

β€œI decided to apply for this scholarship because not only did I see how big of an opportunity it wasβ€”you know, getting a full ride to a school out of state and all. But I felt I fit the leadership role as desired. Taking into consideration my work ethic, natural instinct to lead, and drive I knew this scholarship would be perfect for me,” says LaSanta. She felt that the process wasn’t difficult and lasted 5 months.

The first interview was with 200 kids and they had to build Legos which was unexpected. The second interview was more traditional, where she sat down with the leaders of the Posse Program to figure out if she’s a good fit for the schools she could apply to in November. After that, there was a parent meeting to make sure the student wanted to go through the process. Lastly, the third interview was similar to the first one but with a smaller group of about 20 to 25 students. 

The Posse program in the DC area is connected to six schools which students choose from and rank them from one to six, with one being the one they prefer the most and six being the least likely.

By winning this scholarship, LaSanta will be the first in her family to go to college. β€œIt is such an amazing accomplishment and I find it very rewarding considering what the scholarship is all about. The Posse Foundation witnesses students for who they are as a person and not just their academics,” she adds. LaSanta explained that they had their last meeting on Dec. 1, but it was actually a surprise event to announce some fantastic news.

The Posse manager casually asked her, β€œWhat’s your favorite color?” She said purple, not thinking much of it. Much to her delight, they responded β€œOh that’s great cause now you can wear as much purple as you want at Sewanee” (where purple is the school color), β€œI just started crying in the locker room,” says LaSanta, relieved because she could finally enjoy her senior year. 

Just like LaSanta, Ambe recalls, β€œThey kind of just tricked me, when they zoomed me it was more of so β€˜you got into Posse!’ … It was an out-of-the-body moment. I didn’t expect myself to get into it. It was very heartwarming… I was relieved, one for not having to pay for college and just excited for being able to leave the state and experience something different that I haven’t been able to in-state so I was ecstatic, relieved, and just excited for the future,” says Ambe.

β€œTo anyone that may feel stressed about going to college and life after high school, don’t forget to enjoy your time now with your friends and family. Lastly, remember when applying to schools always be yourself and emphasize your strengths and all accomplishments you can think of in your applications. The schools love to see personal growth and what you’ve done with your time inside and outside of school,” advises LaSanta.

β€œIt was stressful and very anxiety-inducing for me personally. But, I feel like the people who are in charge of the whole Posse Program made it very fun,” explains Ambe. 

MCPS students were honored at a ceremony held at the Lincoln Theater on the night of Jan. 4. 

Lauren Ambe will attend the University of Rochester while Briana LaSanta will attend Sewanee: The University of the South. There is no doubt that they will go on to do amazing things and make Blake proud.

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