In the second essay question on the Scholarship Plus application, we ask for a “topic, idea or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose all track of time.” Saul swung for the fences. His essay began with the words, “What is the purpose of life?”

The life that Saul has built in the 10 years since he came here from the Dominican Republic has been impressive. When his older brother went into the Army, he took a larger role helping his mother and his younger sibling by working weekends at a grocery store. At the same time, he made friends, enjoyed sports and grew to like school. “The reality,” he wrote, “is that the world is a scary place and you can’t make it anywhere on your own. As humans we need others in order to accomplish anything. Many times what gets you through hard times is having others there to have your back. Let’s get it done, together.”

Saul has followed this philosophy at Inwood Academy Leadership High School, working with teachers and tutoring other students. With a GPA of 99%, he is second in his class of 122. One of his teachers wrote of his “academic brilliance” and “infinite potential,” saying, “I have been most impressed by his ability to think critically, his work ethic, and his incredible attention to detail.”

Saul loves libraries and math, and hopes to continue learning about other countries, as he did by participating in a Model UN program. His love of math may turn out to have specific applications: “I’m really sparked by electrical engineering,” he said, “and with ongoing issues like climate change we need better solutions to deliver energy to homes.” Saul now is looking forward to embarking on to a new journey where he can continue to inspire the next generation of men who come from different backgrounds to seek higher education in an area they are passionate about.

Many thanks to Perry Pazer for supporting Saul through his college journey.