Konica Minolta's High School Scholarships Drive New Orleans Students Toward Collegiate Success

Nearly $50,000 Awarded to McDonogh 15 Students for Special Achievement in Academics, Music and Creative Arts; First of Annual Scholarships Part of Overall Effort to Support Local School


Nearly $50,000 Awarded to McDonogh 15 Students for Special Achievement in Academics, Music and
Creative Arts; First of Annual Scholarships Part of Overall Effort to Support Local School

RAMSEY, NJ and NEW ORLEANS, LA - June 11, 2007 - Members of New Orleans' future generation of leaders, artists and scholars have been empowered to achieve their dreams and ambitions by continuing along the pathway to college thanks to a generous new scholarship program offered by Konica Minolta.

Digital imaging company Konica Minolta Business Solutions, U.S.A., Inc. (Konica Minolta) today announced the winners of its first annual scholarship program that will allow three graduating eighth grade students from McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts, a KIPP transformation school (McDonogh 15), to attend top-rated, private New Orleans high schools.  The program is part of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts that focus on next-generation education.  For the students at McDonogh 15, the scholarships will provide them with the opportunity to attend private, college-preparatory high schools that will prepare them for higher education as part of Konica Minolta's ongoing commitment to the school announced in February 2007.

"McDonogh 15 students are some of the most talented and hardest-working in New Orleans - and we wanted to afford them an opportunity to take the next step in their education," said Bill Brewster, vice president, marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.  "We selected McDonogh 15 because of its focus on the creative arts, but also because it is a supportive and fun place for kids to cultivate their futures.  These scholarships represent our dedication not only to the city of New Orleans and McDonogh 15, but to next-generation education as one of Konica Minolta's primary CSR initiatives."

A Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) school affectionately known as "The Little Red School House," McDonogh 15 is located in the French Quarter just off Bourbon Street, and boasts a rich history in the creative arts. With Konica Minolta's announcement to unofficially "adopt" McDonogh 15, the company committed to awarding annual high school scholarships and providing $200,000 in donations to the school for structural repairs, as well as donating Konica Minolta hardware and software solutions.
 
Each year, Konica Minolta plans to award $15,000 scholarships to three students that excel in the areas of academics, creative arts and musical arts.  Konica Minolta announced the availability of the scholarships to the students at the school's "Career Day" held on May 7th, during which students were invited to meet with spokespeople from local high schools and businesses and were encouraged to ask questions of the panelists about their experiences in high school, college, and their various professions.

"A large part of our focus here at McDonogh 15 is on setting long-term educational goals for the kids.  Students identify their grade level by the year they will graduate from high school and enter college," said Gary Robichaux, McDonogh 15 school leader.  "Every student at McDonogh 15 deserves a chance to receive the best education, and these scholarships provide much-needed assistance for these kids to attend private high schools.  Konica Minolta's scholarship program offers these students the amazing opportunity to attend challenging schools that will keep them on the right path towards college."

Each of the 25 scholarship applicants were required to complete a scholarship application as well as submit a 100-word essay outlining their educational and career goals.  From these written applications, seven finalists were then interviewed by a panel of Konica Minolta and New Orleans city representatives, including Marge Reilly, paralegal for Konica Minolta; Mary Beth Romig, director of communications and public relations for the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Tom Dempsey, former kicker for the New Orleans Saints and current National Account Representative at Konica Minolta's New Orleans branch.

Mr. Brewster of Konica Minolta headed up the interview process.

"We have gotten to know the students and teachers of McDonogh 15 very well since the start of this relationship, so we were not at all surprised when we were presented with a truly impressive group of applicants," said Brewster.  "As difficult as it was to select our three winners, if we can help make their academic dreams a reality, then we have achieved our goal for the inaugural year of this scholarship program."

After much anticipation, the winners were announced at McDonogh 15's graduation ceremony held on June 7th:

  • Michelle Brooks, recognized for "Outstanding Academic Achievement", dreams of becoming a doctor and serving the citizens of New Orleans, and will attend Ursuline Academy this fall.    
  • Sebastian Bharj, recognized for "Outstanding Proficiency in Music Arts", dreams of becoming a famous jazz musician and headlining the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and will attend the Isidore Newman School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts this fall.    
  • Araisia Collins, recognized for "Outstanding Proficiency in Creative Arts", would like to one day own her own art gallery in the French Quarter, and will attend the Isidore Newman School this fall.

"Since I moved to New Orleans, I have wanted to go to the Isidore Newman School, but never thought it would be possible," said Sebastian Bharj.  "When I get there, I want to focus on my studies, but also join the school band and other activities. After high school, I want to go on to college to continue my education, and perfect my skills on the saxophone and piano."

About Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. offers a broad range of multifunctional digital imaging solutions inspired by its bizhub brand of powerful solutions that serve as the central resource for document scanning, in-house printing, copying, faxing and electronic archiving and distribution.  From high-quality color and monochrome bizhub™ systems for workgroups and small offices, to advanced high-volume bizhub PRO™ production printing systems for large corporations and print-for-pay services, Konica Minolta is leading the industry toward integrated, networked hardware/software solutions that are more simple, reliable, and cost-effective.  Complementing its bizhub solutions, Konica Minolta also offers desktop laser printers, microform digital imaging systems, wide-format printers and scanning systems for specialized applications.

Headquartered in Ramsey, New Jersey, Konica Minolta delivers expert professional services and experienced, responsive client support, in addition to the world-class service provided through its extensive network of direct sales offices, authorized dealers, resellers and distribution partners in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.  For more information, please visit Konica Minolta at www.kmbs.konicaminolta.us.

About McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts and KIPP
McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts was opened under the auspices of KIPP New Orleans in the summer of 2006 to serve the students of a rebuilding New Orleans.  McDonogh 15 is an open-enrollment public charter school that unites a rigorous college-preparatory academic experience with a focus on the creative arts.  McDonogh 15 is part of the national KIPP network and the local KIPP New Orleans network of public schools, which plans to operate five schools serving nearly 2000 students within five years.  For more information, please visit www.McDonogh15.org
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KIPP was founded in 1994 by two idealistic teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, after completing their commitment to Teach For America.  KIPP has grown to a national network of 52 open enrollment public schools in 16 states and the District of Columbia.  KIPP schools have been widely recognized for narrowing the achievement gap in public education and putting underserved kids on the path to college.  More than 80 percent of KIPP students nationally are low-income and more than 95 percent are African American or Hispanic.  KIPP schools use a combination of higher expectations, greater structure, more time in school, rigorous teacher training and even spirited songs to engage students in learning.  For more information, please visit www.kipp.org

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Konica Minolta is a trademark of Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc.  bizhub and bizhub PRO are trademarks of Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Inc.  All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.