For DonorsFor Applicants

Hopke Foundation Scholarship

Funded by
5 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Apr 18, 2024
Winners Announced
May 18, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior

Protecting and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community is of vital importance, especially now as discrimination remains prevalent.

Homophobia and hatred take the lives of many people each year, either through hate crimes and acts of violence or through suicide due to mental health struggles. Ensuring the safety, health, and happiness of all members of the LGBTQIA+ community requires social support and encouragement. 

This scholarship aims to assist LGBTQIA+ students through financial aid so they have all of the resources and community support they need to flourish.

Any high school senior in Michigan who identifies as LGBTQIA+ may apply for this scholarship opportunity.

To apply, tell us about your goals and how this scholarship would help you achieve them.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published August 10, 2023
Essay Topic

Tell us about your aspirations and how this scholarship would help you.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Joshua Blaine
Detroit Edison Public School ADearborn Heights, MI
Payton Marrison
Michigan Great Lakes Virtual AcademySAINT JOHNS, MI
For as long as I can remember I have loved country music. I went to my first concert at the age of two somewhere in Michigan. Since then, I have gone to concerts at county fairs, tiny stages in Grand Rapids, huge festivals in corn fields, and many more in between all over the country. While I have always had this love and drive for music, I unfortunately have no musical talent. However, I have been lucky enough to meet people on the business side of the music industry, and I have fallen completely in love with it. Through all of these shows, I have only seen three openly queer country artists through all the concerts I have attended. I aspire to make it so other queer country fans never have to experience this, and can know what it feels to see an artist singing songs they relate to. I will never forget seeing Lily Rose, an open lesbian artist, sing country songs to a full room of people who bought a ticket to see her. Screaming her songs with a bunch of other queer people who I know felt the same way was such a healing experience. I have gone on to see her eight times, and it truly never gets old I want the next generation of queer kids who also grew up on country music to have more than these three artists to look up to, listen to, love, and support. I want to make their music and concerts more wide spread and accessible so they can experience sooner than I did. My dream is to someday have my own record label in Nashville with only LGBTQIA+, disabled, BIPOC, and female artists. This will be a long way down the road, and I will have to fight hard to get there, but I believe that I can do it, and that the LGBTQIA+ community deserves this representation. With the help of this scholarship I will help pay for my college tuition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee where I plan to major in music business. I will fight for queer artists, and other queer people to hold space in the country music industry. I will work to make minority artists in the country music industry a common thing, so other queer country kids from small farming towns in Michigan have artists to listen to that sing about their experiences.
Alayna Longe
Athens High SchoolWarren, MI
Growing up with two mothers in a country where diversity is not always valued has been a defining element of my life. My mother and father divorced, and my mother eventually fell in love with a woman. As the United States legalized same-sex marriage, they married, and I gained a second mother. This unique familial dynamic, however, caused difficulties as I navigated a society where not everyone understood or embraced same-sex partnerships. During my childhood, I noticed that my family structure differed from the conventional ones around me. The absence of peers who could truly relate to my situation made it challenging. I became aware of the skepticism and negativity directed at us by those who did not support or comprehend same-sex relationships. In the face of this adversity, I felt an innate responsibility to shield my mothers from the judgmental remarks and glances we encountered. This skepticism even influenced my choice of friendships, leading me to distance myself from those who seemed unsupportive. The complexities deepened when I discovered my bisexuality. However, high school emerged as a turning point, bringing a welcome change to my sense of belonging. Joining the school's gay-straight alliance club became a pivotal moment. It provided a platform where I could openly share my journey and struggles, finding solace in the realization that I wasn't alone. Beyond being a mere student group, the club transformed into a genuine community, offering me refuge in the shared experiences and hardships of others. My involvement with this newfound community extended beyond the club's boundaries. By actively participating in pride parades, I connected with numerous individuals who shared similar experiences. The LGBTQIA+ community, coupled with the unwavering love of my two mothers, became the cornerstone of my sense of belonging. Moreover, discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community persists, and the impact is often devastating. Hate crimes, violence, and mental health struggles claim lives every year. In this context, the significance of scholarships like this one cannot be overstated. They not only provide crucial financial aid but also foster a sense of support and encouragement vital for the well-being of LGBTQIA+ students. This scholarship holds profound importance for me in achieving my goals. It serves as more than just financial assistance; it represents an affirmation of the struggles I've faced and a recognition of the strength derived from my unique family background. With this support, I aim to pursue higher education, further contribute to the LGBTQIA+ community, and work towards a future where diversity is celebrated and embraced.
Colton Rabley
Thornapple Kellogg High SchoolMIDDLEVILLE, MI
Have you ever heard anyone say "The pen is mightier than the sword"? You probably have. I know I've heard it a couple hundred times at least. No matter how banal it gets, though, it's a quote that's stuck with me. I guess you could say it's become kind of a personal mantra. In my mind, it means that peaceful words can always overpower violence. That's something you need to believe when you're queer in a small town. You have to convince yourself that by talking things out all the bullying will stop. But it won't. Bigots just won't coexist with people that they hate for no reason. Throughout high school, people have proved this to me over and over and over again. When you ask what my aspirations are, a million things come to mind. I could tell you about all of the stories floating around in my head that I would die to have put into paper, published, and distributed to the world. Or I could write about my dream of working in publishing. Getting the opportunity to read and edit new author's works to make our shared goal come true. But do you want to know what my biggest aspiration is? It's to get out of this town. I want to leave. I want to go somewhere I can grow, learn, and be exposed to diverse cultures, people, and places. I want to be set free from this small, hateful community. Don't get me wrong, we have a handful of wonderful people that live here. But it just isn't enough to combat the hate. I've grown as much as I can here. My mother and I have talked about this so many times. For a while, I wanted to be a teacher. Come back to Middleville after college and create a safe space for students like me. She told me that she loves me and that she thinks it's a beautiful idea. And then she told me that she doesn't want that for me. She wants me to leave. She said that this town is too small-minded for me to stay here. She said that the people here won't change because they don't want to. I realized what she meant in my sophomore year. That year I had been lucky enough to find some real friends. Other queer people like me who were trapped in a town that didn't want us. We were thick as thieves. Every day at lunch the group sat in our little alcove sandwiched between two rows of lockers. And almost every day we were relentlessly harassed by our classmates. We had food thrown at us, slurs yelled to our faces, insults tossed our way, and notes placed where we sat dictating how we were wanted dead. When I told my parents they wanted me to move. Change schools and leave, but I couldn't just abandon my friends. They would still have to face that every single day. So I decided we would face it together until we escaped this hellhole. That's how this scholarship would help me. It will enable me to leave this town behind and find somewhere I can be surrounded by love and light. A place where I don't have to keep my head down in the hallway. I'll miss the friends I've made and the few staff members who made me feel safe and welcome, but it's time for me to say goodbye.
Naomi Zadorsky
Royal Oak High SchoolROYAL OAK, MI
Before middle school, I never had any inclination that I was different from my peers. I didn't question my peers experience or mine- I assumed that my girl friends all wanted to marry their best friends, as that was my experience. However, upon entering middle school, my world changed. I gained the vocabulary necessary to describe myself and my experience, and I came out as a lesbian. My friends and family supported me, however I still felt like an outsider within my community, close but unable to fully understand the experiences of those around me. To combat the alienation I felt from my peers, I turned to art. The world I wished for, the one where I was queer and didn't feel alone, the one where I was able to see myself reflected in my idols, existed. I felt as though I had to create representation for myself because I was unable to find it anywhere else. As a young kid, all I wanted to know was that my experiences as a queer person were okay and normal, an assurance that I didn't yet have. I created characters from all walks of life, representing the stages of the queer experience I hoped to have; finding a queer community, finding a partner and being able to be old and queer, being afforded the luxury of those facets of the straight experience which I admired. However, as I grew older, I realised that I wanted to be able to channel my aspirations into something meaningful, something which would be able to help queer youth such as myself. I focused more of my time and energy into my art, honing my craft and deciding that I wanted to go into the arts post-high school. Now, reflecting on my past and looking towards my future, I have decided that I want to be able to create something for people like me; people who are queer and are searching for a voice, something or someone saying that their experience and identity are valid and real, and most importantly, that they are normal. I want to create this experience through media, which is an outlet which is familiar and most importantly accessible to those in need of assurance like I was when I first came out. By being awarded this scholarship, I would be given the space to create this possibility. Not only would I be realizing the dreams of myself, as a queer kid, hoping that I would one day feel comfortable with my queerness, but for other kids and people like me, people who need to know that they are ok and valid. I want to be able to create something new, something which normalizes queerness in a new way which is reflective of the society we are currently living in. With this scholarship, I would be able to afford toe post-secondary education needed for me to be able to pursue this dream in a professional context, a dream which would be beneficial to so many queer people who might be struggling with their identity and just need reassurance.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 18, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 18, 2024.

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