Photograph by Brock Stoneham
The seven members of the Scholarship Plus Class of 2014 bring to 30 the number of students who have received scholarship funds and continuing support from us. Students in this year's class achieved outstanding records at high schools in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
In addition to their academic achievements and community service, each of the students has overcome daunting personal challenges. Members of the class have faced grinding poverty, the death of young parents and other major family stress, years in city shelters and the challenge of mastering a new language and a new culture.
Their accomplishments have earned them admission to the City University Honors Program, Stanford, SUNY Binghamton, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, Middlebury, Brooklyn College, Princeton and Yale.
The seven members of the newest scholarship class come from six countries.
Muska was born in the Netherlands. At Hillcrest High School she was chosen student body president, helping raise consciousness about bullying, homelessness and human trafficking, and graduating 25th in her class of 750. Next she will be studying in the honors program at City University, with a goal of becoming a human rights lawyer.
Kevin was born in Guyana, South America. At Brooklyn Technical High School he thrived on a demanding curriculum, found a passion for software engineering and became president of the web development club. He will head for Stanford in the fall.
Dorje's long journey here began in Tibet, and wound through Nepal and India. Arriving here three years ago, he mastered English at Newton High School, where he graduated 10th in a class of 413. Next is the State University at Binghamton, to study astrophysics.
Malik is a Bronx man born and raised, though he graduated from the High School of Economics and Finance in Wall Street. His passions — science, writing, poetry and Japan — are taking him away from finance, to Middlebury College in Vermont.
Karen was born in Washington Heights, and graduated from Brooklyn Tech. Volunteering at New York Presbyterian Hospital plus her love of science have set her sights on becoming a doctor. She will attend Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College.
Fabien arrived here from Haiti four years ago speaking French and Creole, but no English — and has graduated 4th in a class of 750 from Hillcrest High School. A month-long intensive course last summer at Weill Cornell Medical College — where he emerged as a leader and the graduation speaker — reinforced his determination to become a physician. His next stop is Brooklyn College.
Natalia came here from Colombia, eventually settling in Far Rockaway. She has graduated from Brooklyn Tech, with a research internship last summer at Rockefeller University. Now she thinks about a medical research career as she prepares to go to Yale.
Each of the students nominated a teacher or other adviser who had been of special help over the years. As part of the class welcoming ceremony, each teacher was presented a certificate and a small honorarium. Teachers and students came to the microphones and said a few words about one another — to the accompaniment of both laughter and tears, on the stage and in the audience.
Daniel Baldwin, teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School, nominated by Kevin; Haydee Recinos, counselor at Hillcrest High School, nominated by Muska; Justine Hwei Chi Lee, teacher at Newtown High School, nominated by Dorje; Elizabeth Coyne, teacher at the High School of Economics and Finance, nominated by Malik; Robin Scherman, teacher at Brooklyn Tech, nominated by Karen; Dr. Henry Ruiz, Croll Laboratory, Queens College, nominated by Natalia, and Andrew Hillman, medical student and head of the Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program, nominated by Fabien.