Posse Scholar or Scholar-Athlete? Lawrence Stampino-Strain “Balances” Both


Lauren Gregorio

Lawrence Stampino-Strain standing proudly alongside his Pomona College flag in the Activities room.

Lauren Gregorio, Opinion Editor

Known across Coral Gables Senior High for mastering the art of “balance”, senior Lawrence Stampino-Strain has received a full-tuition scholarship to Pomona College through the Posse Scholarship Program. Stampino-Strain will soon be changing his time zone with nine other students as he heads off to California for the next chapter of his life.

Serving as the president of the 5000 Role Models club, the Secretary of Academics for Student Activities, a staff member for CavsTV, a Mr. Coral Gables finalist and a varsity basketball player, it is no surprise the senior embodied the leadership skills Posse looks for in applicants. Leading the way among his fellow peers in school, his active attitude at Gables is a clear sign that he will support the other scholars he meets in Pomona.

“Lawrence is the most caring senior I know. He is both incredible athletically and academically, as well as simply a supportive friend,” senior Noora Pharaon said.

Stampino-Strain first heard about the Posse Scholarship at the end of junior year from various outlets, such as the annual College Application Readiness Symposium program, and from his Activities Director, Mrs. Suarez. Immediately intrigued, the Cavalier had always held an open mind when it came to his future.

Perusing through the colleges offered, Stampino-Strain had a particular interest in Pomona College because of its prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics majors. Though he is not 100% certain what he will choose as his area of study, he is inclined towards something that includes math. His deep love for the area of study has made him hopeful to dive into engineering and see whether or not it is for him.

“I think he is so deserving of Posse. I have known him for years and, through thick and thin, Lawrence is always there. He is a very dedicated student and I am excited to hear the stories about Pomona and his life in California,” senior Chris Rico said.

Starting the lengthy application process at the end of his junior year, Stampino-Strain not only became enamored by the chance of a full-tuition scholarship, but also the thought of going to a brand new place with friends along for the ride. Moreover, he hopes to use the career and networking opportunities the Posse Foundation provides aside from the actual financial award.

Hearing I got Posse was an unforgettable experience. I remember screaming as my parents and sister rushed in,

— senior Lawrence Stampino-Strain

“The minute senior year started, Posse really picked up and we had a bunch of interviews. For me, I enjoyed the interviews; they have always been my thing compared to writing. It was definitely a lot, but all worth it at the end,” senior Lawrence Stampino-Strain said.

After making it to the final round of interviews that took place in-person at the Posse office with 19 other individuals, the senior came home feeling proud of himself for remaining relaxed even during a nerve-wracking process. Stampino-Strain was on his way back home from basketball practice on his skateboard that same night when he received a call from the Posse Foundation. They asked him if he could go on a quick Zoom call in order for them to ask him a couple more questions.

“I remember thinking to myself that there’s no way like, what else do they want to know? I just spent four hours in this meeting. I do not think I am prepared,” senior Lawrence Stampino-Strain said.

He rushed home, quickly put on a dress shirt, and hopped on the call when the head of Posse Miami told him that a Pomona representative wanted to speak with him. Thinking he did something wrong, Stampino-Strain went into a breakout room with him.

Having Stampino-Strain’s application in hand, the representative asked him why he chose “undecided” as a major. After responding saying he likes to keep “an open mind”, the Pomona representative nonchalantly replied stating, “…we love to hear that because at Pomona we preach open-mindedness and that is why you are admitted to the class of 2026.”

Embarking on a new chapter on the west coast, Stampino-Strain is prepared for his higher educational journey and the new connections he will build. Having made his mark on Gables, the senior is ready to take on the next four years.