Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester Speaks at Delaware College Scholars Program Graduation
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester Speaks at Delaware College Scholars Program Graduation
Liz Torrey

On June 17, parents, faculty and supporters gathered alongside Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester to celebrate as 31 rising college freshmen graduated from the rigorous Delaware College Scholars (DCS) program. A partnership between St. Andrew's School and the Delaware Department of Education, DCS is a tuition-free, residential, college preparatory program for high-achieving 10th through 12th graders from Delaware families of low income. The mission of DCS is to recruit and prepare (both academically and socially) these students to apply to, enroll in, and graduate from competitive colleges and universities.

U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester gave the keynote address at this year's graduation, and spoke on themes of persistence, focus, and achieving goals.

"The students and teachers involved with the Delaware College Scholars program exemplify the reasons I am so confident about our future. In my position on the House Education and The Workforce Committee, I am consistently looking for ways we can enhance educational opportunities and innovative initiatives. This group is leading the path forward in those ways and showing us how to take action," said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester.

The program specifically targets low-income 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders who are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch. Graduates are often the first in their family to attend college. Program particpants spend three weeks, three summers in a row, at St. Andrew's, where they live and study together in a cohort-based program. While immersed in a collegiate-style residential atmosphere at St. Andrew's, the students receive college mentorship, learn about and visit different colleges, and form lasting relationships with their peer groups while tackling an intensive reading, writing and discussion-based curriculum. In the program, students apply to college with the help of one-on-one advising, learn about financial aid and scholarships, select the college of their choice and create a plan to complete a successful freshman year of college. This year, graduates of the program are attending Cornell University, Wesleyan University, Lehigh University, University of Delaware, and Delaware State University, among others.

While only eight percent of Delaware students from low income families attend four-year institutions of higher education, ninety-two percent of Delaware College Scholars (who all come from low-income families) have gone on to a four-year institution of higher education.

"Our students have worked extremely hard for the past three summers and I am proud to celebrate them and this accomplishment. Thanks to our partnership with St. Andrew's and the Delaware Department of Education, we have created a statewide opportunity for the best and brightest students in Delaware to excel in college academically and socially," said Dr. Tony Alleyne, Director, Delaware College Scholars.

This year's graduates include:

Marwane Adlani, Mount Pleasant High School (attending University of Delaware); Elaine Ansah, Newark Charter School (undecided); Sianea Baker, Appoquinimink High School (attending Delaware Technical Community College); Kayleigh Barnes, Sussex Academy (attending University of Delaware); Aliyah Bennett, Smyrna High School (attending University of Delaware); Brianna Boyd, Ceasar Rodney (attending Embry Riddle University-Daytona); Isabella Burnham, Conrad Schools of Science (attending University of Delaware); Tyra Cannon, Dover High School (attending Washington College); Shontel Coker, Mount Pleasant High School (attending University of Delaware); Jessica Creigh, Milford High School (attending University of Delaware); Rahkeen Farrior, Dover High School (attending University of Delaware); Ryan Gibson, Smyrna High School (attending University of Delaware); Demetrius Hoffman, Cape Henlopen High School (attending George Mason University); Xeno Kappell, Seaford High School (attending University of Delaware); Amanda Korwek, John Dickinson High School (attending Lehigh University); Johnson Mageto, St. George's Technical High School (attending Delaware State University); Destiny Mahmood, Mount Pleasant High School (attending University of Delaware); Samantha McDonough, Sussex Central High School (attending La Roche College); Kiara Mendez, Lake Forest High School (attending University of the Sciences); Kameron Mosley, Cab Calloway School of the Arts (attending University of Delaware); Sebastian Ortiz, Middletown High School (attending Cornell University); Brittany Rugg, Lake Forest High School (undecided); Jasmin Scott, Polytech High School (attending Denison University); Justin Stafford, Smyrna High School (attending Virginia Tech University); Karelin Torres, John Dickinson High School (attending University of Delaware); Myles Villefana, St. Andrew's School (attending Allegheny College); Alejandra Villamares, Howard High School of Technology (attending Wesleyan University); Chase Warrington, Howard High School of Technology (attending Susquehanna University); Tatiyanna Wells, Appoquinimink High School (attending Whitman College); and Kaylani Williams, Polytech High School (attending Old Dominion University).

Learn more about DCS at