SLI Beginnings (9 minutes/2022) reflects on the start of the college-access nonprofit Shenandoah Valley Scholars Latino Initiative Inc (SLI) and features one of its first scholars, Dulce Alonso (Harrisonburg High School ’15, George Mason University ’17), plus four of its founding board members: Sandy Mercer, Paul Burkholder, Isabel Castillo, and Carlos Alemán.
Timeline in development…
2013 – SLI receives 501c3 nonprofit status
2012 – Shenandoah Valley Scholars Latino Initiative Inc (SLI) files articles of incorporation. Founding and early board members included Emily Reihl Bowen (chair), Carlos Alemán, Paul Burkholder, Isabel Castillo, Dick Gardner, Phil Helmuth, Pat Lintner, Sandy Mercer, Kirk Moyers, and others.
2008 – SLI Founder Peter Iver Kaufman Kaufman moves to the University of Richmond to start a SLI program there, and assists Emily Riehl and Sandy Mercer – with the cooperation of Harrisonburg City Public Schools leadership – in bringing SLI to the Shenandoah Valley
2003 – Peter Iver Kaufman, then professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, in collaboration with UNC alumna Eleanor Blake and several UNC undergraduates, sets out to address challenges faced by Latino high school students in Siler City, North Carolina. There at Jordan Matthews High School, administrators, counselors, faculty colleagues (especially Paul Cuadros, then soccer coach at JMHS and subsequently a professor of journalism at UNC), support the initiative that becomes the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI, pronounced ‘sly’). Within a few years, SLI is encouraging and assisting first-generation immigrant students from Chatham, Edgecombe, Randolph, Durham, Lee, and Orange Counties to find their ways to higher education.