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25 HCPS 8th graders will receive full-tuition scholarships to Virginia Union University

Each of the middle school students was surprised at school by a prize patrol with the news that they had been selected as “VUU Henrico Scholars.” The 25 students will receive full-tuition scholarships to Virginia Union University upon graduation from an HCPS high school in 2026.

Trevor Dickerson

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For 25 Henrico County Public Schools eighth graders and their families, Thursday morning was anything but typical.

Each of the middle school students was surprised at school by a prize patrol with the news that they had been selected as “VUU Henrico Scholars.” The 25 students will receive full-tuition scholarships to Virginia Union University upon graduation from an HCPS high school in 2026.

Scholarships will cover Virginia Union’s tuition and college-readiness support as students pursue a bachelor’s degree in an area of their choosing. Students will be responsible for room, board and fees.

During an application window in November and December, 116 students applied to be part of the program. In addition to essays and an interview, scholarship recipients were selected based on extracurricular activities; community involvement and leadership; a minimum GPA of 2.5; a statement about their career aspirations and dreams; and letters of recommendation. The selection process also prioritized first-generation college attendees and representation from Henrico County’s five magisterial districts.

The students will gather at Virginia Union with their future classmates for a celebration the evening of March 31. (Members of the media wishing to attend should contact Virginia Union for details.)

The students won’t have to wait until they arrive as college freshmen to take advantage of the program. In high school, they will:

  • Be assigned a mentor throughout their high school years to help support, advise and prepare them for college.
  • Take part in a weeklong college-readiness and exploration program each summer.
  • Enjoy regular on-campus experiences, such as sporting and other events.
  • Have access to VUU labs, classrooms and faculty for educational and professional development.
  • Connect with local business leaders in their areas of career interest.

VUU Henrico Scholars recipients:

Brookland District

George Moody Middle School:

  • Tiajia Randolph

Fairfield District

Brookland Middle School:

  • Jayla Henley
  • Kalani Curry

Fairfield Middle School:

  • De’Jhonae Sangster
  • Erica Higginbottom
  • Ja’Niyah Little
  • Shykayla Winston

Douglas Wilder Middle School:

  • Chad Young
  • Eon Fleming
  • Hezekiah Anderson
  • Jaden Tatem
  • Kamari Moore
  • Mikayla Mines
  • Preciana Franges
  • Riyel Waller-Butler

Three Chopt District

Holman Middle School

  • Cesar Espaillat Rojas

Pocahontas Middle School:

  • Jayla Bledsoe
  • Joshua Hanna

Tuckahoe District

Quioccasin Middle School:

  • Isaiah Cousins
  • Kaiden Ratay
  • Manas Malwal
  • Patrick Megaly

Varina District

John Rolfe Middle School:

  • Natalia Morales-Gomez
  • Osman Morales Diaz

Virginia Virtual Academy/John Rolfe Middle School:

  • MacKenzie Turgeon

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.