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Sharing the Experience

Posted by on Thursday, December 20, 2012 in Fall 2012, Giving.

Celeste Martinez, left, recipient of the Allison Poarch Scholarship, with Allison Poarch, BS’07

When you find something good, something worthwhile, you recommend it. If it’s really good and really worthwhile, you take it to the next level and share it. That’s what Allison Poarch, BS’07, and her family have done by establishing the Allison A. Poarch Scholarship. The gift is made in conjunction with Allison’s five-year class reunion and as a way to share the Peabody experience with future students.

While at Peabody, Allison majored in human and organizational development and Spanish. She is the former director of individual giving at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, a nonprofit charter school system started by Peabody alumnus Chris Barbic, BS’92. This scholarship is intended to support undergraduate students who graduated from YES Prep and are enrolled at Peabody. “YES Prep provides low-income students with the resources they need to succeed and go to college,” Allison explains. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to attend Vanderbilt, and I feel very strongly that any student, regardless of family income or ZIP code, deserves the same chance. I have watched YES Prep students at the bottom of the ladder, working tirelessly to beat the odds and get into college, and I want to ensure that those who are eligible academically are not ruled out because of their inability to pay tuition.”

In establishing this scholarship, Allison is following closely in the footprints of her parents, Donald and Cynthia Poarch, who endowed the Poarch Family Scholarship in 2010. That scholarship provides financial support for talented young people, preferably from rural areas, to attend Peabody.

“After reading some of the profiles in the Peabody Reflector about family scholarships, I reflected on how much Vanderbilt did for me,” says Allison. “I wanted to be able to help others, without the means, by allowing them to have the same experiences and walk away with a great education, just as I did.”


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