Act Six opens The Academy, high school students get scholarships

Starting next year, in addition to providing eight students with full-tuition scholarships and pre-college training, the Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative will give 20 freshmen smaller financial aid and a similar training experience. Act Six has been in place at Whitworth since 2002, and is a full-tuition scholarship for urban students in the Northwest who strive to be leaders of change in their community and on campus, according to the Act Six website. They begin the application process early in their senior year of high school.

Previously, 10 Act Six scholarships have been awarded per year. Starting fall 2014, that number will be reduced to eight. Whitworth will provide pre-college training, similar  to the Act Six training, to 20 Academy attendees. The Academy program is condensed into one summer, as opposed to the six months of training Act Six scholars receive, and the Academy scholarship is up to $3,000, said Greg Orwig, vice president of admissions and financial aid.

“We didn’t want to put an expense on the budget, but we wanted to help more students with the Act Six program,” Director of Admissions Marianne Hansen said.

The training that scholars and future Academy students receive prepares them for college in terms of organizing, financial needs and leadership skills, junior Act Six scholar Thomas Glasser said. Students with this opportunity also build connections with their fellow scholars.

“They go through everything a student might need to prepare themselves for college, so writing skills, communication skills,” Hansen said. “They do things like time-management skills, how do you adjust to being on your own, how do you make wise decisions, those kinds of things.”

The hope of the Act Six program is that students will become involved on campus, encouraged by the training Act Six provides prior to college life, and hopefully bring back their leadership skills into their own community, Hansen said.

Previous Act Six scholars included cultural diversity advocates, resident assistants and two ASWU presidents.

“I think the Academy is a really great opportunity for those who didn’t get the Act Six scholarship,” freshman and scholar Camina Hirota said. “It gives them an opportunity to learn from the same training that we went through during the summer, because it really prepared us for college.”

To apply for the Academy, potential candidates must have already been accepted to Whitworth, Orwig said. Applicants fill out a form that can be accessed at

“Granted, they’re not getting full-tuition scholarships, but it includes some scholarship, and there is some funding involved in just administering the Academy program,” Orwig said.

Although the Academy students do not start until next year, it affects the budget this year, because Degrees of Change, the nonprofit that works with Act Six, must hire community-based mentors in Spokane and Seattle that will work with Academy Students in the summer of 2014. Those mentors will be involved in the training program, and will then stay in touch with students once a month throughout their freshman year, as well as the following summer.

“The vision that Tim Herron, the founder [of Act Six], had was [that] we challenge them to be agents of change and transformation on the campus and in their home communities,” Orwig said. “With the education they’re getting from the educational partners, they can go back and help transform their communities for good.”

Katie Shaw Staff Writer

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