We held our annual Hoop Dreams Scholarship Foundation fund-raising event at Harry’s Tap Room in Arlington last night.   Led by the terrific Susie Kay and Doug Knight, it was another inspirational evening.

These young students, many of whom are from lower-income households in DC, continue to amaze me and blow me away with their eagerness to learn, attend college and grow.    I easily met over 30 of the students last night — I tried to chat with each one about where they attend high school, where they’d like to attend college and what their dreams are.

I gave out me email address to a couple of the students — and I promised that they can always reach out to me during their collegiate years for help with college, summer internships, etc.

These students are so different from the ones with whom I went to high school — in the well-to-do suburb of Fairfax.  I graduated from WT Woodson — full of kids from upper middle class families — who’s parents attended college and led a comfortable lifestyle.  Contrast that upbringing with the majority of the Hoop Dreams kids who attend HD Woodson in Anacostia — a majority of these students come from single-parent families and will be the first ones in their family to attend college.

Hoop Dreams has now awarded over 1,000 academic scholarships over the past 13 years.  This is a remarkable achievement.  I’m proud to be a member of the board of directors and part of the HDSF family.  Thank you to Susie, Doug and the hard-working staff.  And, thank you to many, many students who continue to inspire me with their desire to learn, grow and become successful and contributing members to society.

Lastly, I’d like to brag about a few of the students I’ve helped mentor / advise over the years.  Michael is a graduate of Hampton Univ and is in the executive program at Verizon; Fanchon will graduate on time from Temple; Ayana is a junior majoring in education at my alma mater, AU; and Emily is a rock-star sophomore at Princeton.   Again, thanks to them and to their fellow HDSF students and alumni for inspiring me.