Scholarship Recipient: Alazae Knoble
In June of 2022, Alazae Knoble graduated from Building 21 as an outstanding role model with a passion for her future. She was the recipient of the Joan Benner Fuller Scholarship by Communities In Schools (CIS) which was awarded at our annual “Ready, Set, Graduate!” event. Not long ago, however, Alazae was unsure if she could achieve this goal. At the beginning of her 8th-grade year, tragedy struck her home when Alazae learned her father had passed away. Devastated, her first thoughts were of her brothers and how they would handle the news. She didn’t want to attend school the next day, if ever again. Having to face reality, Alazae went to school the following week, but as a changed girl. Unable to effectively cope with her feelings, life became difficult for her to manage, and soon, her school grades and attendance declined, along with her attitude.
One of the five basics CIS believes every child needs and deserves is a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult. When Alazae met her CIS site coordinator, Mrs. Heather Annunziata, they bonded quickly, and Alazae began sharing her feelings. Joining the CIS program to offer support with attendance, grades, and behavior, Alazae found that meeting with Mrs. Annunziata inspired her to achieve her goals. “She would check in with me, encourage me, and listen to me,” says Alazae. “Not all children feel comfortable talking to their parents. I feel it’s good to have an adult to talk to outside of your family.”
After meeting Mrs. Annunziata, Alazae’s attendance rate, grades, and spirit began to rise. She participated more in school, volunteered for CIS programming and events, and took up photography as an extra-curricular activity. Mrs. Annunziata said Alazae impressed her teachers and peers and “exhibited strong work ethic and determination and was passionate about her future.” Mrs. Annunziata continues to speak highly of her former student, saying Alazae “demonstrated an extremely positive attitude toward everything she did and let nothing stop her from achieving her goals.” Mrs. Annunziata looks forward to Alazae’s future as “she is a natural-born leader and will continue to use her innate abilities to help others.”
For her senior project, Alazae created a school library for which she successfully solicited a great number of donations to benefit future students. In addition to her school-wide activities, she also obtained and maintained a part-time job and helped take care of her younger siblings at home. With the aid of CIS’ scholarship, she will continue her education by attending Lehigh Carbon Community College in the fall. She plans to study early childhood education and physiology while staying in touch with Mrs. Annunziata. While she thinks of her father often and wishes he was with her physically, Alazae knows he, too, would be proud of her and how far she’s come.