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Within a matter of months, District resident Mikalei Miller will begin her freshman year at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, N.C., where she plans to study psychology. She credits the Thaddeus Stevens School Scholarship as a key element in achieving this milestone.
Mikalei, who recently graduated from Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School in Southeast, received the Thaddeus Stevens School Scholarship in June at The 2100 L Street NW Building after demonstrating a knowledge of 19th century anti-slavery figure Thaddeus Stevens.
The scholarship culminates an impressive high school career that includes Mikalei’s involvement in Top Teens of America Montgomery County, Pathways 2 Power gun violence prevention group, the Garden Club and the NAACP junior chapter.
“Without the help of scholarships like the Thaddeus Stevens School Scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to the college of my choice and pursue my educational goals,” Mikalei said. “It is crucial that young students like me continue to receive . . . opportunities like this because it allows bright students from various socioeconomic backgrounds to gain an education and attain their goals.”
The Thaddeus Stevens School Scholarship, in its fifth and final year, represents a partnership between the Foggy Bottom and West End communities and the Corporate Office Properties Trust, Akridge and Argos Groups which facilitated the development of The 2100 L Street NW Building.
Previous recipients include: Brayan Hernandez of Banneker Academic High School; India McNeill of Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS; and Kasai Rogers and Chase Jones, both of whom graduated from DC International School.
The newly-opened office building stands adjacent to the historic Thaddeus Stevens School which houses Thaddeus Stevens Early Learning Center. As part of a community benefit agreement, The 2100 L Street NW Building has an art museum and students at nearby School Without Walls receive construction and real estate instruction. Visitors can also learn about Stevens in an exhibit located in the lobby.
Stevens, a congressional representative from Pennsylvania, led the Radical Republican subsect of the Republican Party in their opposition to slavery. During the Reconstruction Era, he often clashed with his congressional colleagues and President Andrew Johnson about bringing seceded states back into the union and securing land for emancipated African Americans.
The Northwest-based school named in Stevens’ honor primarily served Black students from its inception in 1868. In the late 1970s, Amy Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, enrolled in Thaddeus Stevens School, becoming the first child of a sitting president to attend a District public school in nearly 70 years.
This year, Mikalei counted among dozens of scholarship candidates whose application went before a committee consisting of an Akridge member, former ANC commissioner Florence Harmon and members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Citizens associations.
David Toney, Akridge’s senior vice president of development, said Mikalei, like scholarship recipients who preceded her, demonstrated a knowledge and appreciation for Stevens’ legacy and commitment to expanding educational opportunity.
“Beyond recipients being a local public or public charter school student, this is a scholarship based on merit,” Toney said. “We’ve had a lot of strong candidates over the years and we’re looking for those who can speak to the importance of Thaddeus Stevens in the fashion of public education and education for all.”