Honors Student Loses College Scholarship Because She Was Briefly Homeless

Honors student Zaviona Woodruff may not have grown up with a lot of money, but her dreams of attending college always seemed attainable since she was assured a scholarship. Now that she’s graduated from high school, however, her school district says she’s not eligible to receive the tuition money because she briefly lived outside the district after her family became homeless, reports Fox 17.

SIGN THE PETITION: Tell Kalamazoo Public Schools to Reinstate Zaviona Woodruff’s Scholarship!

Having attended Kalamazoo, Michigan schools her entire life, 18-year-old Woodruff would ordinarily qualify for the nationally renowned Kalamazoo Promise. That “promise” is an offer of full college tuition to a Michigan university or college to those students who attend the Kalamazoo school system from K-12.

Woodruff made it almost all the way through until, in 2016, her family faced tough financial times and they moved to a shelter for a few months. Finally, her dad found housing he could afford, only to later learn the apartment they were technically living in was just outside of the district.

For the record, the Woodruff family had every reason to believe they were still inside Kalamazoo lines. The apartment management had assured Zaviona’s father that it was serviced by the district, and the public school bus even picked up residents to take them to the high school.

“I tried to do as much as I could to make myself look like a great student,” said Woodruff. “My whole life I’m like, okay, I get the Promise, I’m good. [To] just have that chair ripped from under me, like, last second… it’s just really, really hard.”

At Loy Norrix High School, Woodruff earned a 3.57 GPA while participating in a bunch of extracurricular activities like the swim team, bowling team, and the school musical. It’s remarkable that she continued to work so hard through a stressful period like homelessness, when a lot of other people in her shoes might have given up.

If anything, the fact that her family has had financial struggles makes her more deserving of this scholarship than some of her peers. Several of her teachers wrote letters to the Kalamazoo Promise vouching for her work ethic and merit in an effort to have them reconsider rejecting the scholarship decision.

Woodruff is currently working two jobs in the hopes of being able to attend Oakland University to study mechanical engineering (she became fascinated with the subject after taking an aviation tech class at school,) but with her first tuition payment looming, that will be difficult.

Take Action

Woodruff put in the work for 13 years in Kalamazoo school district, and a financial setback should not be the reason that she no longer qualifies for the full tuition scholarship she worked towards. Please sign this petition aimed at the Kalamazoo Promise director to reconsider his decision; the compassionate donors who provide students with this amazing opportunity should be able to recognize the underlying circumstances in Woodruff’s case and grant an exception.

79 comments

Camilla V
Camilla Vaga1 months ago

thx

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Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

petition signed. ty

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Than kyou

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 months ago

Kevin left out a few details (as he so often does to skew his readers). First, Zaviona knew the promise scholarship was in jeopardy. She stated, "That was my junior year, and I knew that at that point I would be losing the one thing that was going to help me get through college: the Kalamazoo Promise." They were denied a bus to and from school, and were told they lived in a different school district,
Additionally, the district has a Request to Attend form for students who live outside the district, but wish to remain in Kalamazoo schools.

Fear not though, because Zaviona received a grant from Oakland University covering 100% of her tuition, and she posted a plea to a GoFundMe page, raising enough money to pay for tuition. Hence, this petition is moot.

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Amanda M
Amanda M2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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