No Doors Closed scholarship

Kevin Warren, center, presented this year’s “No Doors Closed” scholarships to, from left, Brikty Tilahun, Osadolor Ikponmwosa, Justin Gitonga and Liliana Valverde Ortiz.

Four seniors in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District were awarded the "No Doors Closed" scholarship this month, which aims to financially open the door to a college education. 

This year’s scholarship recipients are Burnsville High School seniors Justin Gitonga, Osadolor Ikponmwosa, Brikty Tilahun and Liliana Valverde Ortiz. Each will receive $5,000 each year for four years to cover tuition and other costs to earn an undergraduate degree at a college or university.

Kevin Warren, an attorney and the Chief Operating Officer of the Minnesota Vikings, and his wife Greta Warren, a first-generation college graduate, offer the scholarships through private donations. 

“So much of what we do is aimed at removing barriers for students so they can prepare for success in their futures, but the cost of a college education is one barrier we can’t control,” said Dr. Jenna Mitchler, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, in a release.

Students at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School participating in college-readiness programs were eligible to apply. 

The application process included essays about obstacles they’d overcome, their goals for community involvement and their plans for the future. Previous scholarship winners, now finishing their sophomore year in college, helped read and evaluate the applications.

Students also had to meet a certain grade point average and be members of underserved or underrepresented groups on college campuses, the release said.

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