Meet The Inaugural Cohort of Rales Scholars

Today we’re thrilled to announce the inaugural cohort of a new KIPP scholars program: the Ruth and Norman Rales Scholars Program. 38 Scholars from 12 KIPP regions were selected for this year’s cohort!
Created in partnership with the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation, this scholars program honors the legacy of Ruth and Norman Rales. Ruth and Norman believed deeply in the importance of an excellent education for all children.
“While my parents, Ruth and Norman, never had the opportunity to attend college, they viewed education as a great equalizer and key to opportunity. They would be proud of this group of exceptional young people,” says their son Josh Rales, President and Trustee of the Rales Foundation.
Rales Scholars will receive an award of up to $60,000 to help offset non-tuition costs over four years of college; get help identifying and securing internships; be mentored by older alumni; and receive resources related to financial literacy and career building. Plus, all Rales Scholars will attend an annual summer leadership summit, fostering connections across the community and supporting Scholars’ leadership development in becoming agents of change.
These scholars are truly incredible. Among them, we have:
  • Cynthia Obiefuna from North Carolina– The Founder and President of Black Scientists Initiative, which matches high schoolers with a scientist in their desired field in order to open opportunities for Black scientists like her.
  • Erick Trujillo from Southern California – Worked on a community-centered initiative organized by his school to address homelessness, poverty, and high crime rates in the Boyle Heights community of Los Angeles.
  • Xavier Watkins-Wright from New York – Founded Real Talk Mondays, a virtual support group for students to connect and process their experiences and mental health during the pandemic.
Watch the video below to see how a few of these students reacted to being named Rales Scholars. Then, head to our website to meet all 38 scholars.