The College Club Scholarship Fund Scholarship Recipient Luncheon took place at the Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay, on Tuesday, May 22. Ten college scholarship awards were presented to Boston City High School seniors embarking on their college careers.
For those of you unfamiliar with The College Club Scholarship, the not for profit corporation was established in 1985 to provide financial assistance to graduating Boston Public High School students, to help finance their college educations. All recipients are seniors attending a Boston Public High School or charter school, applicants are culturally diverse and come from all areas of the City of Boston, and they share the qualities of maturity, dedication to their education, perseverance and commitment to their goals.
One hundred ten high school seniors, 82 women, 28 men, representing 24 different Boston public high schools and charter schools, applied in 2012 for assistance. Members of the committee read each application over a three week period in April. Applications included a personal statement, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation, and financial disclosure forms. Winnowing down the pool to twenty students who would be interviewed was not an easy task, since every student had merit.
The interviews were fascinating. Students were nervous, naturally, but committee members tried to set them at ease. The young people brought their letters of acceptance and financial aid award letters with them. In a few cases, the students fortunate enough to have received full rides from their colleges or universities were not chosen for a College Club Scholarship award, but every student not chosen as a finalist was sent a Staples gift certificate to help them with school supplies next year.
Here are some short facts about this year's winners, each receiving $3,000 in aid for next year, and one, winner of the Gertrude Waldron multi-year scholarship, receiving $3,000 for each of her next four years of study. This last award was made possible through a bequest to The College Club Scholarship Fund from the Waldron family to honor their mother, Gertrude, a former College Club member.
Gjorgjia Kace of Boston International High School was born in Albania to a farming family, and attended a one room school house where his morning job was starting the wood fire to heat the classroom. He will attend Suffolk University and plans to study Computer Science and Business.
Quang Le of Boston Latin Academy came to the United States from Vietnam at age 11, has already earned college credits in biology, and loves to act, performing in a school production of Bye Bye Birdie. He is on his way to UMass/Amherst next year.
Sheenia McHayle of New Mission High School started life in a rough and violent neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica, where her mother and sister still reside. One of her goals is to bring them to the United States. Next year she will study nursing and business at Salem State University.
Another New Mission High School senior, Selamawit Deboch, came here from Ethiopia five years ago, when her mother needed medical treatment. She has worked at Brigham & Women’s Hospital each summer, and plans a career in public health, through her studies at Bridgewater State next fall.
Christopher Frangolini is president of his class at East Boston High School, and will attend Suffolk University in the fall. Through a training project called Zumix, he has hosted his own sports radio talk show, On the Fly, and will study Communications, Journalism and Film Studies next year.
Rafael da Silveira of Madison Park High School is a talented soccer player from Brazil, who briefly dropped out of high school, but through excellent mentoring by his coach, re-entered and excelled. He will attend Merrimack College in September.
Thuhang Do, valedictorian of her class at Charlestown High School, is another scholarship recipient who will attend UMass/Amherst next year, hoping to major in mechanical engineering. She is a member of Junior ROTC, which gave her social structure and support once she arrived in this country from her native Vietnam.
Aboubacar Konate was born in Guinea, speaks three languages, plays basketball and soccer, works at John Hancock, earned two debating awards while attending English High School, and maintains an A average. His family escaped political turmoil in Africa so Aboubacar and his sister could attain a good education. He plans to study civil and environmental engineering next year at University of New Hampshire.
Edgar Hernandez, from Mexico, like many of the applicants, will be the first of his family to attend a liberal arts college. The English High School senior transitioned out of his ESL courses into Advanced Placement and Honors courses, and a chemistry teacher wrote he is the best student he ever taught. Next year, Edgar will pursue civil engineering at UMass/Amherst.
Our four year grant recipient, Kimberly Bautista, attends Boston Latin Academy. She completely supports herself, works 30 hours a week at two jobs while maintaining a 3.55 GPA and taking Advanced Placement courses. Next year she will be at Boston College, hoping to become an adolescent primary care physician after graduation.
For more information about this The College Club Scholarship Fund, or to make a donation, visit http://www.thecollegeclubofboston.com/scholarship-fund-12.html.