Oakdale student recognized for working to close achievement gap

  • Updated: April 26, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Jada Sherrie Mitchell, a 17-year-old senior at Tartan High School, received the Facing Race Ambassador Award.

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A Tartan High School student has been honored by the St. Paul Foundation for her social-justice work.

Jada Sherrie Mitchell, 17, is the youngest person to win the Facing Race Ambassador Award — created by the foundation in 2007 to recognize anti-racism leaders and to promote communitywide conversations about race.

In 2011, Mitchell joined the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District’s youth leadership council. The following year, she developed a mentoring program called Students Working on the Achievement Gap, or Project SWAG.

The program, which began with 20 high school mentors working with 20 students at Oakdale Elementary School, now includes 150 high school students serving 400 elementary students.

“Reducing racial disparities is one of the critical challenges facing Minnesota,” Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of the St. Paul Foundation, said in a news release. “We are committed to this cause and honored to celebrate the hard work and dedication of individuals fighting for racial equity.”

Mitchell was honored during an April 7 awards celebration.

This fall, she plans to attend Minnesota State University, Mankato, and intends to pursue a teaching degree.


Local students snare National Merit honors

Five Washington County area students were named last week as winners of corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards.

They are among the first group of honorees to be announced as part of the 59th annual scholarship program.

About 1.5 million juniors from 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2012 PSAT, the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

In September, about 16,000 students were named semifinalists. About 8,000 finalists have been selected to receive scholarships totaling $35 million.

Corporate sponsors provide scholarships for finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of cities served by the companies or who plan to pursue college majors or careers that the sponsors wish to encourage.

The five students, four of whom live in Woodbury, won scholarships sponsored by 3M. They are:

• Johanna Back, of Woodbury, who attends East Ridge High School and plans to study medicine.

• Nicholas Boyd, of White Bear Lake, who attends Mahtomedi High School and is considering an electrical engineering career.

• Carolyn Domroese, of Woodbury, who attends Woodbury High School and is likely to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

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