KIPP Baltimore senior Kamari Johnson admits that finding money to cover college expenses can be a challenge. But thanks to a scholarship award from Amplify, in partnership with KIPP and iMentor, the Morgan State University-bound 18-year-old is getting mentoring and financial support to help him during his college journey.
“When I found out I won, I was very excited because it’s stressful finding scholarships,” said Johnson. “But putting in the work to get the scholarship came back to me. It really paid off.”
Johnson was selected for iMentor and KIPP’s First 2019 Amplify Scholarship. He will receive a unique combination of financial support and mentoring during his four-year collegiate experience, which includes a mentor to provide ongoing support throughout college. He will also receive financial support totaling approximately $15,000 a year to cover a range of non-tuition needs.
Johnson was selected for the scholarship based on his academic and personal achievements, and is one of 15 outstanding KIPP students to join the Amplify Scholars Program. iMentor will work closely with KIPP Through College staff to ensure scholars are building the knowledge and skills to thrive in college and beyond. He was selected to be part of the inaugural 2019 cohort of Amplify Scholars from among nearly 200 applicants.
The 15 scholarship recipients all have attended KIPP schools in twelve communities across the U.S., and are all students of color. Many will be the first in their families to attend college.
“This scholarship will help me pay for college tuition and amenities such as a computer and books,” said Johnson. “I might not have enough to pay for my books and a computer, so this scholarship helps me in those ways. On my mother’s side, I am the first one in my family to go to college. I am paving the way for everyone else.”
The Amplify Scholars Program was established by KIPP and iMentor in 2018 to support KIPP graduating high school seniors across the country who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and achievement.
KIPP, (Knowledge Is Power Program), is a national network of 224 public charter schools that are dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP Baltimore operates an elementary school— KIPP Harmony Academy, and a middle school, KIPP Ujima Village Academy, in Northwest Baltimore. Starting in school year 2019-20, the schools will be co-located in the Walbrook building located at 2000 Edgewood Street.
iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.
The Amplify Scholarship is tailored to bring the experience and best practices of both iMentor and KIPP Through College together to support students’ success to and through college.
As a KIPP student, Johnson was co-president of the Black Awareness Club, a member of the Robotics and Programming Clubs, and the National Spanish Honor Society. He plans to major in Computer Science at Morgan State University.
“I chose this area of study because it really helped me during tough times,” said Johnson. “Computers were an outlet for me. I loved playing video games. One day, my father asked me what I wanted to do with my future. I told him I liked video games, and he told me I could do it as a career. I researched it, and found out that there was a career in computers. I have wanted to pursue it as a career since that time.”
As an Amplify Scholar, Johnson will also receive an invitation to Amplify Scholars Academy, a three-day retreat hosted in New York City to build skills, connections, and community.
“Our KIPP Through College team was excited to support Kamari as he applied for the Amplify scholarship,” said Rita Bradu- nas, Senior Manager of College Placement on the KIPP Through College team. “He is an incredibly hard-working and determined student, who always demonstrates a genuine kindness toward others.
“Throughout the college process, he has taken full advantage of KIPP Through College supports— from participating in our college readiness summer program to attending our evening application workshops. I have no doubt that he will likewise utilize every opportunity this award presents, and I cannot wait to see what he achieves next!”
Mike O’Brien is CEO of iMentor.
“We’re thrilled to announce the inaugural class of Amplify Scholars,” he said. “This group of students embodies many of the core values of iMentor – demonstrating excellence, leadership, and a commitment to the power of relationships to transform our society. Together with our partners at KIPP, we are honored to support these graduating high school seniors as they continue their educational path to college. I look forward to seeing the impact of their lives amplified across their communities in the years to come.”