In Their Own
Students talk about the
Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund
Dear Ms. Kay and Steve:
would like to take a moment to thank you for all of your
help with my college experience. I believe that if this
organization did not exist, there would have been of
number of high school graduates in the metropolitan area
who would have never been given the opportunity to
further their education due to financial reasons. I
would have likely been in that same position, but thank
to Hoop Dreams, I am grateful. In 1999, when I graduated
from high school, my mother was not working and my
father was receiving disability, so you can only imagine
what my family's household income was. There was no way
that my parents would have been able to afford my
Hoop Dreams Organization helped me achieve my dreams of
going to college and getting a degree in Computer
Science/Information Systems, SAT Preparation, and a
great mentor (Julie Posey). I will always be grateful
and as a sign of appreciation, enclosed is a check in
the amount of $150. I wish so badly that I was in the
position to give more than this, but hopefully I will be
able to do that next year. Maybe this can help a student
with purchasing some of their books. Again many thanks,
for all of your help and I look forward to seeing you
guys again soon.
Leonsis Scholar Says "Thank You"
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you
for believing in me and helping me make my college
experience a success. Words can not express how much I
appreciate your generous contribution towards my
education. I truly value your financial and emotional
Going to college is an exciting experience that I
will never forget. Because of your kind heart, I was
able to go to college and focus on my classes which
allowed me to receive the National Dean's List Award
twice and an All-American
Scholar Award. In many ways I felt stress free because
I didn't have to worry about how
my parents would pay for the next semester. Your
financial and emotional support played
a huge role in my education.
It felt good to have someone believing in me and
encouraging me along the way.
You are truly an inspiration. Once again, please
except my heartfelt thanks for
helping me make my college experience such a success.
Hoop Dream/Leonsis Scholar
Class of 1999
January 3, 2003
As one of the
original members of Miss Kayís Hoop Dreams crew, it
is my great pleasure to be here today to represent the
Hoop Dreams graduates.
What began as a one-day, one-time basketball
tourney has grown into a year-round college prep
Hoop Dreams is doing three times as much, and I am
delighted to see that the energy and spirit that made
that initial event so special has grown as well.
I know first hand that Hoops Dreams is much more than
launched the Hoop Dreams internship program with an
internship at NBC4, which gave me valuable work
experience and the opportunity to work with great
people like Wally Bruckner.
My internship confirmed for me that my dream of
career in broadcasting was the right path for me.
While I came to Hoop Dreams with a career goal,
for many other students the Hoops Dreams internship
program is opening up academic and career avenues they
had never before thought of.
I was also fortunate to have been paired with a mentor
who awed me as a high school student and continues to
inspire me today Ė Dori Silverman of Coca-Cola.
Our relationship went far beyond that of
mentoring, Dori established a scholarship in Miss
Kayís name for students who attend American
University, of which I was a recipient for the past
three years. I
am proud to say that today Miss Kay and I share the
connection of being AU alumni.
After the terrible events of September 11, people all
across the country are looking for ways to connect
with people in their community.
Hoop Dreams demonstrates that by making a small
connection you can have a big impact.
By connecting high school students with
Washington professionals, Hoops dreams and its
dedicated volunteers and supports is provided hundreds
of students with the incentive and focus to go to
college and make their dreams a reality.
With the love and support of my family and the
on-going interest and backing of Hoop Dreams, I am
proud to say that I am making my dreams come true.
Earlier this month I graduated from American
with a degree in journalism and I have accepted a
position with the NBC affiliate in Charlotte as an
I am but one Hoop Dreams success story.
I would like to take this opportunity to do a
roll call of this yearís Hoop Dreams college
Andrea McCauley, Susquhenna
Nick Dortch, Virginia State
Nicola Jones, Clark Atlanta
Tawanna Terry, Howard University
William Thomas, South Carolina State
Amilia Douglas, Lincoln University
Delan Johnson, Southeastern University
Briona Brown, Bowie State
Lonnell Wilson, Fayetteville State
Shynetra Whitmeyer, Southeastern University
Inga Holston, Virginia Union
On behalf of all
the Hoop Dreams students and graduates, thank you for
coming out today to support this important program
that really is changing lives.
Hoop Dreams Scholarship Recipient 1998
American University Class of 2002
Remarks before 2002 Hoop Dreams Charity Basketball
June 8, 2002
Thank you Miss Kay
If someone were to ask me what would be the first thing
to come to my mind when I think about Miss Susie Kay, I
would say that she is one of the most compassionate and
caring persons that I have every met. While attending
H.D. Woodson senior high school, I was first introduced
to this lady of high energy and spunk. She was different
in that she always challenged us so that we could reach
our highest potential. She taught, nurtured, and helped
mold me into the person that I am today. Her love for
humanity is remarkable. It is something to be admired.
She believes in me and she never belittles me. Hoop
Dreams is not just a money machine. I donít look at Miss
Kay as just a person sitting in an office writing checks
or handing out money. As time progressed, I not only
viewed her as my teacher, but I consider her to be my
friend. Within her heart she sincerely cares about not
only my individual future but for all of her more than
300 students who she has helped send to college. We are
indeed her children.
I guess I could experience first hand
the benefits of this organization because I had the
privilege of working as an intern for the Hoop Dreams
Scholarship Fund. I could really see the sweat, tears,
and hard work that go into this program. Thatís why itís
so important to me that YOU understand how important it
is for Ms. Kay to continue in her endeavor to raise
scholarships for students who want to attain a higher
education. The Hoop Dreams staff is like my family.
Whenever I have a problem about anything, I know that
they will be there. I felt like I was earning my own
scholarship. Miss Kay works day and night, literally
staying up to 3:00 in the morning, always searching for
ways to benefit us, her children, whether it is
searching to find us mentors, internships, or finding
out ways to help increase our SAT scores.
Itís so important for Miss Kay to
continue to raise money not only for me but also for
other students to attend college because we are the
future. Who will be the next CEOís, the next mayors,
administrative assistants, and doctors? It will be us,
the children who are often referred to as generation X.
But, we are not generation X, because we have people
like Miss Kay who care enough and work hard enough to
ensure that we have the best education that we can
possibly have. Even if she didnít have not one person to
support her, she would go on. She would do it by herself
and has done it by herself, because she believes that
much in us. When I graduated, and walked across that
stage, Miss Kay was there and her warm embrace made me
come to realize that it was all worth it. The 12 long
years of hard work had finally paid off, and now it was
time for step two in my development. But I know that I
wonít be alone, because I have my parents who have laid
a strong foundation in me and I have people like Miss
Kay who support me 100%. This is a real organization
with real people who havenít given up on the future
generation and I hope that it will stay around for the
next generation to come.
Warmest regards and sincere gratitude,
Amber Juachine Lofton
Hoop Dreams 2000 Scholarship Recipient
August 14, 2000
Nothing Compares to Hoop Dreams
Dear Miss Kay,
Recently, I was glancing over some
photos in Primeshot.com and I noticed something about
some of them. Some of these photos include images from
the Congressional Reception, the Spring Gala, and the
3-on-3 basketball tournament which were all a total
success. Then, I saw the picture of you standing over
the podium during the Congressional Reception. You had
this motionless, yet content smile over your face. What
exactly were you thinking? But, I shouldnít be asking
this question because I already know. No, WE already
That appeased smile on your face not
only symbolized your success with this organization, the
amount of money we raised towards scholarships, or the
endless partnerships weíve obtained, but also it showed
the feat that you, no, WE were actually trying to
accomplish: the ability to connect students within from
D.C. Public Schools to the professional world. Itís
pretty pitiful to know that a student residing within
the District doesnít know whatís actually happening in
this city, or supposedly in the nationís capital. Hoop
Dreams helped form these unstable bridges.
The mentoring program is undoubtedly
the best program that has alleviated the skepticism most
of us felt about that notion that "thereís really no one
in this city that truly cares about us." These were
actually professionals who have been exposed to
multi-faceted experiences, both throughout college and
the business community. They wanted to know what we were
actually feeling. They wanted to become a part of our
lives. This program is undoubtedly the best possible way
for anyone to mature into a truly successful person. Why
arenít there more programs like this one?
Of course, you know the Princeton Review has contributed
to the admission of Hoop Dreams students into most of
our desired colleges. Did you know the average SAT score
for African-Americans within the District is 790 (math
and verbal combined). How does anyone expect to receive
a solid education when colleges are becoming more and
more selective? With the rapid increase in scores from
the students within the Princeton Review, the trend will
at least simmer down in our school. Iíve seen studentsí
scores jump up by 250 points combined. Way to go, Ms.
There really isnít anyone with as much energy and spunk
as you, Ms. Kay (considering that youíre only 4 feet
tall). You prowled down countless CEOs, CFOs, and other
top executives just for US. On top of that, youíre a
teacher! What a heck of a job! You already know that we
will do anything to help make this organization bigger
and better. We will become the Coca-Cola of
scholarships! We will create the future business leaders
of tomorrow! We will receive some type of national
laureate award (I think Iím sounding too much like you!)
By the way, you will be receiving my mailing address
from the Rochester Institute of Technology, along with
my posse, Dana and Wendell. Feel free to contact me
through email, firstname.lastname@example.org (donít ask about the
name), or at my home phone number.
Because of your warmth and congeniality, I will leave
you with a verse from Sinead OíConnorís hit single from
years ago. "Nothing compares....nothing compares....to
YOU!" Have many more fruitful years!
Excerpts from letters by Hoop Dreams Scholars:
"Before I was exposed to Hoop Dreams, I really didnít
believe that I would be able to go to school once the
reality of tuition set in. I felt as though I always
made nothing less than excellent grades and yet I still
seemed to get penalized for not being rich. I received a
few other scholarships for my first year of college,
which made it a breeze. However, my second year and the
beginning of my third year have not been as fortunate. I
am not at the top of my class as I was in high school,
but Hoop Dreams realized this and STILL supported me.
Hoop Dreams has changed my life in more ways than I can
put to words. I am truly blessed to have people like you
in my corner! Thank you very much for supporting me."
-Briona Brown, Bowie University
"Life has been a great learning experience for me so
far, and Iím just getting started. As a full-time mother
with a full-time job, finding money and time to further
my education has been a great feat for me. Even with
this obstacle, I had to continue to believe that one day
something would come through for me and everything would
fall into place.
Suddenly, everything has started to
turn around for me. I am now in the process of changing
jobs and, hopefully, my career. Even better, YOU have
allowed me to make one of my dreams a reality. Iím not
sure at this time where my post-secondary education will
lead me, but Iím positive that it will land me in a
profession that will ensure me happiness and success.
Thank you for making it all possible."
-Ivy Inman, University of Maryland
"Although Hoop Dreams has been of
great assistance in my educational pursuit to happiness,
the credit is all focused on one very special
individual, Ms. Susie Kay. I know she could not have
done it without the help of others, but when you think
of founding fathers and who shaped Washington, DC into
the nationís capital you can not help but to equate Ms.
Kay with them. As I matured over the years at H.D.
Woodson, Ms. Kay gave her students nothing but the best.
She made sure that we were knowledgeable of everything
that pertains to government. However, Ms. Kay did not
stop there. She had dreams and other plans for her
children of tomorrow and thus sought out a scholarship
program that would benefit all. This is known as Hoop
-Nikolais Dortch, Virginia State
"I believe that Miss Kay began this
program because she saw how hard it was for students to
find money to attend and to stay in college. This
program gave students the opportunity to gain college
education and work experience through scholarship funds,
mentoring, internships, and tutoring. I believe that God
has sent her the task of filling the void that "Fannie
Maeís Futures 500 Club" has left. In a way, I believe
that this program is better than others because it comes
from the heart and is for EVERYONE. A big, fancy
corporation did not start the Hoop Dreams Scholarship
Fund, but a teacher who has personal relationships with
the students and saw the trials that these students have
to face everyday. Miss Kayís personal efforts are
greatly appreciated because she went above and beyond
her duty as a teacher."
-Brandi Hickman, Temple University