As a player on her championship softball team, Lanaya is where the action is — she loves playing both the third-base and catcher positions. But she also loves quieter and more reflective pursuits. She gratefully remembers a neighborhood librarian who befriended her as a child, welcoming her into the calmness of the reading room and the world of books. And at a recreation center where she worked with children, she founded a knitting club for them. A very strong student — placing 13th in a class of 576 — Lanaya’s goals are science-related, involving computers and biomedicine, and perhaps becoming a psychiatrist. Determination is a constant in her life. One of her teachers wrote that when Lanaya had to have foot surgery, “One day after the surgery, she was back in our Zoom meetings, sharing her insights about the latest reading assignments and apologizing privately to me for not having her camera on. This is a student who wants to contribute, and will do so in spite of considerable obstacles.” Lanaya told us that in college she was looking forward to “meeting with people from different backgrounds.” About Scholarship Plus, she said that being “part of a community that is education-based would be terrific.” 

Lanaya is grateful to all her teachers but wanted to highlight the consistent and ongoing support of Stephanie Stern, her STEM Academy teacher for two years, especially while Lanaya was going through the difficult task of transferring schools.

Many thanks to Ernest and Kathleen Abrahamson for sponsoring Lanaya through her college journey.