First Lady Gives National Award to Scripps College

First Lady Michelle Obama presents Scripps College with the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

First Lady Michelle Obama presents Scripps College with the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Scripps College has received the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. At a formal White House ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award to Scripps College for its college-readiness program, the Scripps College Academy, a free, year-round initiative geared to prepare young women for higher education and to empower them to become the next generation of women leaders.

Chosen from a pool of more than 400 nominations and 50 finalists, the Scripps College Academy was one of 15 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the 2010 award (formerly called the Coming Up Taller Award).

“It is tremendous for Scripps College to be recognized by the President of the United States for a program that typifies the mission and vision of our institution,” said Lori Bettison-Varga, president of Scripps College. “The Scripps College Academy empowers young women to develop the confidence and skills they need not only to be successful college students, but also to become women leaders who will create positive, lasting change.”

Scripps College Dean of Faculty Amy Marcus-Newhall and current Scripps College Academy participant Raemi Thomas received the award in person from the First Lady.

Scripps College Academy has demonstrated significant positive impact on the lives of underrepresented young women in Los Angeles County:

  • 100 percent of Scripps College Academy participants graduate high school*
  • 100 percent of participants are admitted to a four-year college or university*
  • Nine out of 10 participants feel they are “better prepared” and “more confident” about applying to college after completing the program
  • SCA alumnae attend prestigious institutions such as Scripps College, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Pomona, Princeton, UCLA, and Yale

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The award honors community-based arts and humanities programs that make a marked difference in the lives of their participants by improving academic scores and graduation rates, enhancing life skills, and developing positive relationships with peers, and adults.

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of this prestigious award, Scripps College will also receive $10,000 to support Scripps College Academy programming and engage more young women from the community.

The Scripps College Academy is supported by Scripps College and grants from the Kathryne Beynon Foundation, the Mara W. Breech Foundation, and Southern California Edison.

Past donors have included the California Educational Facilities Authority, James Irvine Foundation, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the Mericos Foundation, the Washington Mutual Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation.

To learn more about the Scripps College Academy, visit

About the Award

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs, particularly those that reach underserved children and youth. The awards recognize and support outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day. These programs excite and engage a range of students, cultivating imagination, collaboration, discipline, and academic success, with demonstrable results. They also provide safe harbors after school, on weekends, and evenings for children and youth in some of our country’s most at-risk urban and rural settings. For a complete list of National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award recipients, visit

About Scripps College Academy

Scripps College Academy is a free, year-round college-readiness program for high achieving young women in the greater Los Angeles area. Founded in 2002, the Scripps College Academy prepares students, 90% of whom will be the first in their families to attend college, to apply to and excel at the college or university of their choice. Students engage in a two-week summer program on the Scripps College campus, followed by year-round programs and support throughout their high school years. Taught by Scripps College faculty, students participate in tutoring, mentoring, science research, book clubs, and an accelerated interdisciplinary curriculum that examines issues of race, class, and gender.

Each year, the Scripps College Academy serves more than 325 students from nearly 50 middle and secondary schools throughout Southern California.