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Education & Youth Programs

Steve Johnsen Scholarship

Steve Johnsen Scholarship

La Academia was founded in 1971 and originally went by the name La Academia de la Gente. The school was started by Steve Johnsen as a small program of the Denver Inner City Parish with less than 10 students. Over time La Academia grew, but its innovations and success were always based on its small size, low student to teacher ratio, and strong relationships. The goal of La Academia was, from the start, to be a place where students could find success and build on that success after graduation. In the 1970’s, options after graduation were a bit different than they are today. But one thing remains true: the more education you get after high school, the more options you will have in life.

Thousands of students have attended La Academia over the years. Graduates have continued their education in certificate programs, trade schools, community colleges, and universities. La Academia has supported its students, through the Puentes program, with applications, assistance with filling out financial aid documents, and micro-scholarships for books and fees. Following this long tradition, the Denver Inner City Parish is excited to offer the Steve Johnsen Scholarship. The scholarship is designed to provide substantive and long-term financial support for recipients pursuing post-secondary education. 

Scholarship Fund Banner Website

The Steve Johnsen Scholarship promotes the Denver Inner City Parish’s mission of loving and supporting individuals and families in our community and empowering them to break the cycle of poverty. Post-secondary certificates and degrees provide educational support that leads to better employment. The number and financial amount of the scholarship awards will vary by term. The scholarship money is for the equivalent of one academic term (for example: a single semester or a multi-month certificate program) and winners are encouraged to reapply pending continued enrollment.


Eligibility Details

The scholarship is available to former La Academia students, relatives of former La Academia students, and friends of DICP who are involved in other DICP programs. Applicants must be accepted and enrolled into a post-secondary educational program that offers a credential upon completion; this credential can be a certificate, a licensure, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Applicants must demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) and providing a copy of FAFSA or the Student Aid Report (SAR) to DICP in the application. 

Our Winter 2021 Recipients

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Damaris Vicarte

Damaris is finishing her final academic year at the University of Colorado Denver. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business Marketing while working part-time. This is the third time she's received the scholarship.


Stephanie de la Rosa

Stephanie is a former Out-of-School Program participant. She is continuing her freshman year at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is a second-time recipient of the scholarship and the first non-La Academia student to receive it.


Rocio Anaya

Rocio is a former La Academia graduate and a current undergraduate at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a Chicano Studies minor. This is the first time she's received the scholarship.


Mireya Nunez

Mireya is a La Academia graduate and first-time scholarship recipient. She is pursuing licensure as an esthetician and is extremely motivated to run her own business and be her own boss.


John Mendez

John is a non-La Academia graduate receiving the award. He works part-time and is pursuing his bachelor's degree in Political Science at the University of Denver. The scholarship helps him manage a full-time class load while also working part-time.

Our Summer 2021 Recipients

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Our 2020 Recipients

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