Senemeht Olatunji, First Star CSI Academy Director, has been awarded the national office’s inaugural First Star Brilliance Award, honoring those who have gone above and beyond to serve our scholars.

First Star has worked, since 2011, to ensure that the foster students in their programs are involved in higher education, with the goal of mitigating the jarring statistic that fewer than three percent of foster youth receive a bachelor’s degree. It also collaborates with colleges and universities to create programs and curricula for foster children to familiarize them with the college environment to strengthen their social, academic, and life skills.

Some of Olatunji’s latest achievements include:

-A 100-percent graduation rate among their seniors in 2020 (22 students). 

-First Star CSI alumni have been accepted to more than 50 colleges and universities, the Marines, and National Guard. Some colleges included CSI, NYU, Delaware State University, FIT, UAlbany, RIT, and many more. 

-Three scholars were accepted as nsoro Scholars and were awarded four-year fully funded scholarships. The mission of the nsoro Educational Foundation is to provide access to and attainment of post-secondary education for all youth aging out of foster care.

According to Vice President for Student Affairs Jennifer Borrero, “Participating in this [First Star]program, being afforded the opportunity to get outside of their comfort zones, including living in Dolphin Cove during the summer, has changed lives. First Star National recognizes the work, passion, and compassion Senemeht put into this program, which is why she was selected for this award.”

Olatunji will receive the award at the virtual First Star Celebration on Sunday, October 11 at 7:00pm EST.

By Terry Mares