M-A alum and teacher team up to start Ubuntu Scholarship Program
The Ubuntu Scholarship Program is a new financial aid program at Menlo-Atherton High School that will assist graduating Black seniors with their postsecondary education. Named for the African term Ubuntu — which stresses a sense of community involvement and giving to others — the program will provide two students each year with a $5,000 college scholarship funded over four years at $1,250 per year.
The program is the brain child of M-A alum Rob Jensen who found himself personally frustrated about the George Floyd and other killings at the hand of police this year.
“I’ve not been a big community activist over the years,” he explains. “But the social injustice issues really got to me this year. It really saddened me.”
Rob reached out to Chris Rubin, who runs the Computer Academy at M-A, floating the idea of scholarship program for graduating Black students. “He put my in touch with Sherinda Bryant, who is the advisor to the Black Student Union on campus,” Rob says. “I made a handful of calls to people I know from the M-A community and raised enough funds to get the program up and running.”
Sherinda has been at M-A for the past 10 years, the last three as an English teacher. “Prior to this, we didn’t have anything specific that addressed the academic success of African American students,” she said. “When Rob approached me with this opportunity, it was amazing. It will give these students the boost they need as they move on to college.”
Additional donations are now being sought to keep the program going. Donations can be sent to Menlo-Atherton High School, attention: Treasurer, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton CA 94027. Checks should be payable to M-A Scholarships, with Ubuntu Scholarship Program in the memo line. Donations are tax deductible based on current IRS regulations.
For additional information, please contact Sherinda Bryant at sbryant[at]seq.org. M-A alumni or community members who are interested in assisting in fundraising with friends or classmates are also asked to contact Sherinda.
Rob sums up the effort: “More is needed at the national level. But I’d like to believe the the Ubuntu Scholarship can be a small effort by this community to help with social injustice.”
Photo of Sherinda and Rob by Robb Most (c) 2020