Today, Close the Gap Foundation is announcing our 2020 inaugural Boosts COVID-19 Resiliency Scholars. Fifteen outstanding students from across the country are being recognized for their commitment to their academics, extracurricular activities, and families in the face of overwhelming adversity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boosts Resilience Fund was established this year to provide students the small “boost” they need to unlock their full potential. Boosts Resilience Fund Scholars received awards like noise-cancelling headphones, printers, and Chromebook laptops to ensure they have the supplies they need for success in changing their personal educational landscape.

Boosts Resilience Fund awarded a total of $2100 in scholarships — a testament to the hard work and dedication that our scholars have shown during the pandemic.

The 2020 Boosts COVID-19 Resiliency Scholars

Close the Gap Foundation believes every one of our applicants deserved the supplies they requested, and in that spirit, CTG is launching Boosts COVID-19 Resources. Through this page, prospective scholars can discover state-specific resources and receive language support, if needed.

Our COVID-19 Resiliency Scholars represent a wide swathe of the country, hailing from California, Mississippi,  Virginia, Utah, and Tennessee. In total, Close the Gap Foundation is certain our inaugural class of fifteen incredible scholars will be the cornerstone of a successful Boosts Resilience Fund for years to come.

Alan Solari (Chromebook)

Concord, CA  – In his family of five, Alan shares a single computer without a webcam, so he has struggled with completing online assignments while sharing the single computer. With this Chromebook, Alan will have his own computer and he will be able to tackle 10th grade with confidence.

Briana Reed (Chromebook)

Fayette, MS – Due to the pandemic, Briana hasn’t been able to use school computers or public library computers, which she normally relies on. Since the pandemic started, her family hasn’t been able to afford a personal computer for her as well, so with this Chromebook she will be able to leave her small phone screen behind when completing distance learning assignments.

Madison Jefferson (Chromebook)

Pascagoula, MS – Madison plans to enter dual enrollment with a local community college, and hopes to graduate with a high school diploma and an associates degree. The Chromebook will be a great asset to her as she completes online learning at two institutions.

Mercedes Dawn Swiantek (Chromebook)

Chesapeake, VA  – Mercedes hasn’t been able to easily complete her schoolwork during the pandemic, and has aspirations of joining the Air Force. With this Chromebook, she will be able to complete online assignments more easily.

Adiba Khaydari (NC Headphones)

Charlottesville, VA  – In order to focus, Adiba needs peace and quiet, but recently she hasn’t been able to due to the pandemic. Due to financial constraints, Adiba hasn’t been able to purchase noise cancelling headphones, but with these headphones she will be able to more easily focus on schoolwork during distance learning.

Sara Mena (NC Headphones)

Hayward, CA – Sara’s household is often loud, so it’s been difficult for her to focus during the pandemic. With the headphones, not only will Sara be able to focus on her own work, but she won’t bother her siblings, who are also completing distance learning.

Wilson Szeto (NC Headphones)

San Francisco, CA – With the transition to distance learning, Wilson hasn’t been able to interact with his online classes fully because he doesn’t have a microphone. With these headphones, Wilson will be able to fully immerse himself in distance learning for his freshman year of college.

Axel Rojas (NC Headphones)

San Jose, CA  – Axel is the oldest of four siblings and needs concentration in order to focus on schoolwork. With the noise cancelling headphones, Axel will be able to focus on distance learning as he transitions from high school to college.

Uyen Bui (Printer)

El Sobrante, CA – Uyen hasn’t had access to a personal printer due to the pandemic - she usually uses school or library printers, which are all inaccessible because of closures. With the printer, Uyen will be able to print out school assignments and more efficiently complete her schoolwork.

Melody Law (Printer)

San Francisco, CA  – Melody hasn’t been able to access school or public library printers since the pandemic started, so she has had to use Google Docs to complete all her assignments, including math assignments, which is time consuming. With this printer, she will be able to more efficiently complete assignments, saving her time and sleep.

Ricky Neil Hannah (Hotspot)

Newport, TN – Ricky hasn’t had reliable internet access because of the pandemic, and so he has had to rely on mobile data. With the pocket hotspot, Ricky will be able to take programming classes online, which he has been exploring.

Wingyau Yuen (Acrylic Paint Set)

San Francisco, CA – Wingyau is inspired by painting and hasn’t been able to get art supplies during the pandemic. With these supplies. She hopes to continue her hobby and have a creative outlet during distance learning.

Samira Samadi (Notebooks + Pens)

Charlottesville, VA – During school, Samira would receive supplies that she needed to complete schoolwork, but with distance learning, she hasn’t been able to get school supplies. With these supplies, she will be able to thrive during these difficult times and further her education.

Renata Eleanor Sharf (A Castle in the Clouds)

Sacramento, CA – With library closures due to the pandemic, Renata hasn’t been able to read many books, something that’s extremely important to her. She hopes to expand her horizons and learn new ideas by reading A Castle in the Clouds.

Hyrum Frederick Fechser (Weighted Vest + Strength Training Bands)

Apple Valley, UT – Due to the pandemic, Hyrum hasn’t been able to practice for his event in track and field, long jump. With this training equipment, Hyrum will be able to continue practicing and be well prepared for his next season.

Viridiana Garcia Escobedo (Cake Pans + Kitchen Scale)

San Leandro, CA – Viridiana has taken up baking during the pandemic, but it’s been difficult because she doesn’t have all the supplies she needs to bake what she wants. With these kitchen supplies, Viridiana will be able to self-care and make tasty treats for her family.

Read more about the digital divide and how you can help.