Stefen Rincon ’21 will attend Sewanee: The University of the South this fall on a full-tuition Posse Foundation scholarship, thanks in large part to a nomination by alumna Michaela James-Thrower ‘20.
“To be nominated by her is an honor. I never expected it to happen,” Rincon said. “To be able to know I am going to college with someone who gave me that opportunity...I owe her a lot.”
The Posse Foundation’s goal is to train the leaders of tomorrow by carefully selecting and supporting a small, diverse group of talented students – a Posse – that has the potential to serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. Of the 16,000 Posse applications nationwide, only 5% were selected this year for a full-tuition scholarship.
Independent schools cannot nominate their own students for Posse awards; the only pathways for St. Andrew’s students are to be nominated by a community organization or by a current Posse student. James-Thrower, a freshman at Sewanee who won her scholarship in 2019
, said she nominated Rincon because he is a motivator and a leader whose passion for helping others is inspiring.
“Posse is a foundation but it’s also a family of driven and ambitious young leaders. I can honestly say that, with the right resources, Stefen could probably single-handedly change the world because that’s how infectious his kindness is,” she said. “I believe in him deeply and I trust that, by nominating him, I am investing in the change I want to see in the world.”
Rincon is the president of the Students of Color Association, which he founded last summer with Brianna Lane ‘21 and Danielle Peters ‘21 to encourage, inspire, and uplift young people of color to become leaders in the St. Andrew’s community. He is also a president of the Latinx Club, captain of St. Andrew’s Dance Team, and an alumnus of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference as both an attendee and a peer facilitator.
To be considered for the award, Rincon participated in a series of group and individual interviews online, ultimately being named a winner in early December.
“I’m beyond happy - I’m over the moon,” Rincon said. “Everything is off my shoulders. I know where I’m going, I don’t have to put my parents through the stress of paying for college. To say the least, it has changed my life.”
Scholarship finalists rank schools they would like to attend from a list of partner colleges and universities. For Rincon, attending any partner school with a Posse would provide him with an instant support system as he transitioned to college, but choosing Sewanee would mean he could include one more person: James-Thrower, who he said is like an older sister to him.
At Sewanee, Rincon said he is looking forward to preparing for a career that would allow him to serve others, potentially studying to become a teacher, a pediatrician, or a veterinarian.