For DonorsFor Applicants

“I Matter” Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
The O’Neal Family
2 winners, $1,080 each
Application Deadline
Apr 8, 2024
Winners Announced
May 8, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school student
Low-income and/or BIPOC

Every student should have the opportunity to pursue higher education and the opportunities it unlocks. 

Unfortunately, many underserved students don’t receive the assistance they need to pursue higher learning, making it difficult or impossible for them to achieve their goals for the future. As college costs continue to rise, minority students and those from low-income families must be provided with the resources and funding they need to access higher education.

This scholarship seeks to support minority students and students with financial need so they can afford to pursue higher education.

Any low-income and/or BIPOC high school student may apply for this scholarship opportunity.

To apply, please write a short summary OR submit a video describing a time when you helped someone in need.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published January 7, 2024
Essay Topic

In 400-600 words, tell us about a time when you helped someone in need.

0–600 words

Winning Applications

Noor Abu-shalbak
University of HoustonMissouri City, TX
I printed something out. While that may sound very uneventful and surface-level, it was so much deeper than a simple request. There's an English teacher in my high school who's notorious for being an intense grader, and that's who my new friend ended up with. My friend always seemed to mention that class in his list of stressors whenever we gave each other a summary of our day, and I felt bad for him. That same teacher never accepted online submissions, even for students without a printer or bad financial circumstances. So, one morning, while my friend was walking me to my 4th-period class, he texted his best friend, who he'd asked to print his essay two days before, and his smile dropped when he got a text back saying that he forgot to print it. I immediately knew I had to bring that smile back, so I stepped up and vowed I would do my best to get it printed. We went our separate ways, but the clock was racing as I formulated a plan while juggling my classwork. I asked my teacher to print it, but his room didn't have a printer. However, he let me go to another teacher's class, but he didn't have a printer either. I didn't want to let my friend down, so I tried another teacher, and they didn't have one. I was running out of options and time until I thought of a teacher who is a living angel, and I practically sprinted to her class that was upstairs and across the school. I remember making eye contact with someone, and I must've looked so stupid, but I had one goal in mind. When I arrived, she happily obliged my request. One thing to note about my friend is that he was a bit academically insecure, which made him anxious about late grades, but I didn't know how deep it was until I checked my email and found that he'd sent it 10 times. I actually counted, and it was 10. After it was printed, I texted him, and he came to pick it up. I ran back down the stairs and to the library where he was waiting, and he sighed in relief. He thanked me countless times and went back to class. The next time he saw me, he thanked me again. At the time, I honestly thought of it as just printing paper to help a friend, but it was more than that to him. Months later, he told me that he was disappointed his friend didn't remember it because he trusted him, and thought he'd prioritize the paper over video games, especially because it would take less than 5 minutes to print. Even though some might think that "it was a small mistake," little things like this, while they may be unintentional, can make someone feel so little and unimportant on a list of things that actually don't matter that much. Like my friend, I didn't have a printer, so I know that if he did it for me, I would've felt the same. I only told him about my whole goose chase after he asked, and he said that it made him feel cared about. This shows that small acts can actually mean something to someone, and perspective is really what matters. One small thing can change someone's view of society, and that truly is a beautiful thing, if used with the right intentions. So yes, I did just print a few pages, but it gave someone mental assurance, and that's more than enough for me.
Youssef Mounir El-Mankabady
University of California-BerkeleySAN RAMON, CA
Hampton UniversityBowie, MD
Marina Hernandez
Rice High SchoolGarwood, TX
Growing up, I was always taught to help and be there for others. My parents were great examples in showing me that helping out was not only for the sake of other people but that it was also very rewarding for yourself. Just knowing you can better someone's life, even in a small way, is something that can have you feeling so fufilled. There were many times when I would see both of them go out of their way to assist others and they never expected anything in return. It inspired me to want to be just like them. My mom would tell me how it was always a wonderful feeling to be able to use what you have to help other people. When she said that, it stayed with me and made me wonder how I could do the same. I remember one year in school there was a classmate of mine who was having difficulty with their math work. I didn't live too far from them, so we decided to set up a time and day for me to help them work on it. Math is something a lot of people have trouble with, so I made sure to let them know that it was okay to ask for help and that I would do my best to help them understand the lesson. Once we began, I made sure to keep away all distractions, like electronics, so that way I could have 100% focus. I did my best to slowly explain the lesson and made sure to pause if they had any questions. After the first lesson was finished, I felt good about helping a classmate to be able to feel confident about their work. Once the grade came back on the paper, I was so ecstatic to find that they'd passed! We scheduled another study time and continued doing that anytime they felt they needed some extra clarity or assistance on an assignment. I'm so glad that I had an opportunity to help someone else. Being able to help someone is an amazing feeling. Not only is it rewarding, but you set a good example to others also. A few years later I saw that same classmate excelling at math and helping others with their assignments. They were in all of the honor classes and were even taking some college courses. It was truly an incredible experience.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 8, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 8, 2024.

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