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Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program Selects 7 Recipients

The program offers support for opticianry school, paid internships and mentorships.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Vision Council announces that the Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program’s selection committee has chosen the first round of scholarship recipients. Seven recipients were selected and notified this month. The Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program is intended to provide financial assistance and career guidance to high school seniors and recent high school graduates from marginalized communities who show an interest in the eyecare and optical industry.

The Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program will support selected students through monetary scholarships to opticianry school, paid internships and mentorships. The intent of the program is to launch a far-reaching effort that can expand to other segments of the industry.

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The first round scholarship recipients include:

  • Genesis Opokularbi
  • Jaedon-King Fletcher
  • Aaron Nyambe
  • Melissa Bottex
  • JonChris Valerio
  • Anastacia Paul
  • Diya Folia

Additionally, in an effort to give more students the opportunity to participate in the program, the online application has been extended for two additional rounds. Round two closes on Monday, August 2 and the final, third round closes on Friday, August 20. Round two applicants will be notified by Monday, August 9 and round three applicants will be notified by Friday, August 27.

To view the application, click here.

“The scholarship selection committee is thrilled to recognize these seven highly deserving students with the first of the Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program scholarships. We were impressed by the caliber of applicants and are excited to help these promising students launch their educations and careers,” said Tarrence Lackran, Director of Programs and Partnerships at The Vision Council and a member of the scholarship selection committee. “Furthermore, by extending the application deadline through August 20, The Vision Council is demonstrating our commitment to shaping the industry’s future through diversity and inclusion.”

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“I’m so happy to receive such an amazing opportunity. And I look forward to joining this industry and going on this journey to earn my degree in this in Opticianry,” said Jaedon-King Fletcher, scholarship recipient.

To-date, more than $330,000 has been pledged towards the Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program. Supporters include:

  • EssilorLuxottica: $100,000
  • National Vision, Inc.: $90,000
  • Luxury Optical Holdings: $83,837.68
  • CooperVision: $10,000
  • The Vision Council and RX: $10,000
  • Europa Eyewear: $7,000
  • DeRigo REM: $5,000
  • MyEyeDr.: $5,000
  • MODO Eyewear: $3,000
  • Jobson: $1,000
  • Eschenbach Optik: $1,000
  • Opticians Association of America: $1,000

Additionally, more than $25,000 has been donated by independent retailers, individual donors, and auction bids from a virtual auction held in January 2021.

For scholarships for the 2021–2022 school year, eligible students must be interested in pursuing an Associates Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing from either Georgia Piedmont Technical College or New York City Technical College. Scholarships will cover tuition and fees, and $250 allowance per semester for books and supplies. Scholarships are renewable each semester upon successful completion of all course work and internship/mentorship requirements.

The Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program does not include admittance to the colleges; students must apply separately to the ophthalmic dispensing programs.

In addition to submitting a letter of recommendation and responses to several essay questions, scholarship applicants are asked to prepare and submit a 60 to 90 second video answering the following questions:

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  • Who has been a role model to you? Why?
  • Tell us about a personal achievement of yours that you are most proud of.
  • What excites you about being a part of the Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Program?

Eligible students must:

  • Be interested in pursuing a degree at either Georgia Piedmont Technical College or New York City Technical College
  • Have graduated from high school by June 30, 2021
  • Be available to work 16–24 hours per week during an internship/mentorship with an eyecare provider or optical retailer
  • Be legally eligible to work in the United Sates

Direct any questions to Tarrence Lackran, director of Programming and Partnerships at The Vision Council, at [email protected].

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