ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council has announced that the selection committee for the Opening Your Eyes: The Vision Council Scholarship Fund has chosen the first round of scholarship recipients. The scholarship program is intended to provide financial assistance and career guidance to high school seniors and recent high school graduates from marginalized communities who show an interest in the eyecare and optical industry. The Program will support selected students through monetary scholarships to opticianry school, paid internships and mentorships. The intent of the program is to launch a far-reaching effort that can expand to other segments of the industry.

The seven recipients were selected and notified this month. They are:

  • Genesis Opokularbi
  • Jaedon-King Fletcher
  • Aaron Nyambe
  • Melissa Bottex
  • JonChris Valerio
  • Anastacia Paul
  • Diya Folia

The online application for the program has also been extended for two additional rounds. Round two closes on Monday, Aug. 2 and the final third round closes on Friday, Aug. 20. Round two applicants will be notified by Monday, Aug. 9 and round three applicants will be notified by Friday, Aug. 27. The application, as well as eligibility requirements, are available online here.
For scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year, eligible students must be interested in pursuing an Associates Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing from either Georgia Piedmont Technical College or New York City Technical College. Scholarships will cover tuition and fees, and $250 allowance per semester for books and supplies. Scholarships are renewable each semester upon successful completion of all course work and internship/mentorship requirements. The Opening Your Eyes: The Vision Council Scholarship Fund does not include admittance to the colleges; students must apply separately to the ophthalmic dispensing programs.

Tarrence Lackran, director of programs and partnerships at The Vision Council and a member of the scholarship selection committee said, “The scholarship selection committee is thrilled to recognize these seven highly deserving students.... We were impressed by the caliber of applicants and are excited to help these promising students launch their educations and careers. Furthermore, by extending the application deadline through Aug. 20, The Vision Council is demonstrating our commitment to shaping the industry’s future through diversity and inclusion.”

Jaedon-King Fletcher, a scholarship recipient, said, “I’m so happy to receive such an amazing opportunity! And I look forward to joining this industry and going on this journey to earn my degree in this in Opticianry.”

To-date, more than $330,000 has been pledged toward the Scholarship Program. Supporters include:

  • EssilorLuxottica: $100,000
  • National Vision, Inc.: $90,000
  • Luxury Optical Holdings: $83,837.68
  • CooperVision: $10,000
  • The Vision Council and RX: $10,000
  • Europa Eyewear: $7,000
  • DeRigo REM: $5,000
  • MyEyeDr.: $5,000
  • MODO Eyewear: $3,000
  • Jobson: $1,000
  • Eschenbach Optik: $1,000
  • Opticians Association of America: $1,000
Additionally, more than $25,000 has been donated by independent retailers, individual donors, and auction bids from a virtual auction held in January 2021.

More information about applying for the Program is available online here and questions can be directed to Tarrence Lackran at