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Simpson specializes in supporting underserved high school students
Leah Simpson.jpg
Simpson

For many high school seniors, the transition from high school to college, or to a career, can be a period of confusion and uncertainty. 

As college brochures, job listings, and financial aid forms pile up, even the most determined student may find themselves desperate for support. For minority students at Warren County High School, this is where Leah Simpson steps in. Employed as the school’s Minority Liaison since 2018, Leah is responsible for guiding underrepresented students – many of them identifying as Hispanic/Latino – to their best-fit post-secondary pathway. 

With a focus on building trust and fostering relationships, Leah is working to create a new generation of college- and career-ready high school graduates in her community.

A former teacher at WCHS, Leah’s desire to support underserved students stemmed from years of watching too many graduates leave the high school without a post-grad plan. She noticed this transition seemed to be particularly challenging for students whose parents had not attended college themselves, had immigrated to the United States, or did not speak English. 

In a normal year, a week in Leah’s shoes might involve a field trip – the class of 2020 visited Cumberland University, Tennessee Tech, and a Nissan manufacturing facility – or a FAFSA Frenzy event, along with dozens of one-on-one meetings with her students. However, 2020 was not a normal year. 

As the pandemic disrupted school, Leah leaned on Google Classroom to ensure continued support to her students. This digital solution allowed Leah to provide the guidance she would ordinarily offer inside school walls – guidance related to the ACT, college admissions, community services opportunities, summer programs, and more. Despite the many challenges caused by the virus, 80% of Leah’s students in the class of 2020 reported post-graduation plans involving postsecondary education, career, or military service. Those students who pursued postsecondary education were awarded a combined total of over $1.5 million in scholarship funds.

The Scarlett Family Foundation is proud to support Leah Simpson and Warren County High School in their mission to guide all students to a life of success after high school. This spotlight on Simpson was made by Scarlett Family Foundation, which provides funding opportunities through a scholarship program.