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The Skip Grant Program

The Skip Grant Program, formerly known as "The Risk Program," was founded in 1970 by Brooks Johnson, teacher, coach, and Athletic Director at St. Albans. The Program began with the belief that the quality academic and extra-curricular activities offered at St. Albans should be available to a broader range of young men in the Washington, D.C., community, particularly students of color and economically disadvantaged students.

As part of the Skip Grant Program, the School seeks to enroll students who reflect the racial and economic diversity of the city. St. Albans reaches out into the local community and beyond for young men who have the potential to meet the School's rigorous academic standards. There is a special emphasis on selecting students of color living within Washington, D.C., although recent Skip Grant students have been from states such as Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, New York, and Mississippi, as well as from countries such as Ireland. In prospective candidates for the Program, St. Albans looks for boys who have a record of academic success, show perseverance and courage, exhibit strong character traits, and possess a special talent or gift.

Skip Grant Program candidates are either identified by Admissions Director Andy Rodin or recommended to St. Albans by the School's Outreach Committee, local non-profit organizations, or friends of the School. Once a boy is admitted to the School as a Skip Grant student in either the Upper or Lower School, he receives added monitoring, support, and, if needed, tutorial assistance to help him adjust to St. Albans and succeed at the School. Many Skip Grant students receive financial assistance; however, some Grant students do not merit or receive financial aid but are placed in the Program because they need the academic and social support system the program offers.

The "Risk Program" was renamed in honor of Oliver "Skip" Grant in May of 2000. Mr. Grant directed the Risk Program from 1975 to 1998, and served as a St. Albans coach, Athletic Director, teacher, and parent for more than 25 years. In naming the Program after Skip Grant, the School sought to both honor Mr. Grant and to give students in the Program someone to emulate. In the words of Mr. Grant himself, Skip Grant "came from minimum resources" in Washington, D.C., attended segregated schools, and became one of the most respected educators in the Nation's Capital.

Since 1970, 156 boys--including 21 current students--have attended St. Albans as Risk/Skip Grant students, 112 of whom were students of color. There have been approximately 30 boys in the Program who left the School, either by their own volition or because they failed to meet the School's academic or disciplinary requirements. 105 Grant students have graduated from St. Albans, 81 of whom were students of color. Approximately a quarter of the students in the Program have boarded in the St. Albans dormitory. (Statistics current as of the start of the 2003-2004 school year).

Among the Skip Grant Program graduates are teachers, a politician, an NFL All-Pro player, doctors, a Naval officer, a Marine officer, coaches, a fashion model, bankers, lawyers, architects, and a Tony Award-winning actor. All of the Grant students who graduated from St. Albans earned admittance to a four-year college or university. The complete list of colleges attended by Skip Grant Program graduates is listed below:

Amherst--American U.--Brown--Boston U.--Bowdoin--California--Catholic--Colgate--Columbia--Colorado--Cornell--Dartmouth--Duke--Fordham--Florida--George Washington--Georgia--Georgetown--Gettysburg--Guilford--Hampton--Harvard--Haverford--Howard--Iowa--Lehigh--LSU--Marietta--Maryland--Middlebury--Morehouse--NC State--Northwestern--UNC--Occidental--Ohio Wesleyan--U.Penn--Princeton--Randolph-Macon--Rochester--St. Mary's--Stanford--Syracuse--Trinity (TX)--Tufts--Tulane--UCLA--UMBC--Union--University of Ulster--U.S. Naval Academy--Villanova--Virginia--Wake Forest--West Virginia--Williams--Wisconsin.

Contact: Malcolm Lester, Skip Grant Program Director, 202-537-5703, mlester@cathedral.org.


Questions about the Skip Grant Program? Feel free to email the Director of the Program by clicking on the address below:
Malcolm_Lester@cathedral.org