Historic First for the Inaugural Class of 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 15, 2022
LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — For the first time in the history of Loudoun County, students from the LGBTQ+ community have had the opportunity to apply for and be awarded a publicly available scholarship generated from within their very own community through the support and generosity of allies and LGBTQ+ community members. This scholarship sought to support a diverse group, from those in private and public schools to those seeking any form of continuing education.
"It was truly inspiring to see the strength, commitment, and excellence of our applicants shine through and nearly impossible to choose only four,” said Catie Cote, Director of Education. “These amazing young people give me hope for the future." Applicants were required to submit a statement of need, qualifying information on their scholastic and extracurricular achievements, and an essay focused on their experiences in the LGBTQ+ community. While the program was originally planned to award $1,000 scholarships to 3 individuals, an anonymous donor was so moved by the content of the essays and the quality of the applicants that they donated an additional $1,000 to support a fourth awardee.
“We could not be prouder to have offered this,” said Cris Candice Tuck, President. “Ever since our new Board started in 2021, funding this program has been our biggest focus.” The recipients were selected based on the criteria of the mission of Equality Loudoun: Advocacy, Community, Education, and Defense. This scholarship also aimed to reflect the diversity of Loudoun County through the intersectionality of the LGBTQ+ community with those in the BIPOC community, those going through transition, those in need, those from immigrant families, and more.
The Equality in Education Scholarship Program, Class of 2022, recipients include Castor Keyser (Stone Bridge High School) who plans to study political science and law; Miles McLane (John Champe High School) whose studies are undecided; Ryan Jackson (Stone Bridge High School) who plans to student liberal arts and humanities; and Ryder Ward (Rock Ridge High School) who plans to study theater arts. “All the applicants were wonderful. It was a tough decision not to be able to fund all the students.” said Todd Cimino-Johnson, Treasurer. “I believe all of those who applied will be successful in the future. I want to wish all of them well and know we stand behind them 100% in their educational pursuits.”
Founded in 2003, Equality Loudoun (EQLOCO) is Loudoun’s largest nonprofit organization fighting to promote, protect, and defend LGBTQ+ equality in Loudoun County.