PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Family members, college counselors and teachers looked on and cheered as 20 recipients of Brown University’s Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence scholarship received award certificates on Thursday, June 14, from Brown President Christina Paxson and Superintendent of Providence Schools Christopher Maher.
The college-bound Providence Public School graduates, who received $2,500 toward the cost of attendance at any accredited college or university, were honored at a celebration held at Paxson’s home.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and City Council member Nirva LaFortune joined Brown staff members who work closely with Providence’s schools in celebrating the high school graduates’ achievements. Paxson praised students for the hard work that led to their college acceptances, noting that many were first-generation college students and immigrants.
“You are students who display something more than just being good students,” Paxson said. “You display resilience and character and determination and ambition and all the things that really characterize the American dream.”
The scholarship originated in a 2006 report from the University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, whose charge was to investigate Brown’s historical relationship to slavery and to recommend ways that the University might create a more just future. The report recommended that Brown renew its commitment to supporting children in the Providence area.
Paxson said the fund was one of many ways that Brown collaborates with Providence Public Schools and noted how valuable these partnerships were to the University.
“We get so much out of our involvement with the Providence Public Schools, and our Brown students get so much out of working with students from this community,” she said. “They learn as much from you as you might learn from them. So we thank you for that.”
Kyara Ferrage was one of seven graduates from Hope High School who received the scholarship. She will use the funds to pursue a degree at the University of Rhode Island (URI), where she plans to major in English. In addition to excelling academically, Ferrage volunteered throughout high school, teaching ballet to children in her community. She said she is excited for the opportunities and challenges that college presents.
She won’t have to wait long to pursue them. Ferrage was selected to be part of URI’s Talent Development Program, a summer program that serves students with great academic promise from disadvantaged backgrounds in preparing for college-level course work. Ferrage moves to campus on Sunday, and she said she’s ready to dive right in.
“Even though I’ve had some troubles in my life, I didn’t give up because I am hungry to learn more,” Ferrage said. “I always want to know my mistakes and how I can fix them. I have a lot of motivation to work hard to get where I want to be.”
Ferrage’s ultimate goal, she said, is to become a writer and share her stories with the world.
This year — the five-year anniversary for the Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence — more than 70 students applied for the scholarship, which is awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need. Preference is given to those who are the first in their family to attend college. Students answered essay questions that asked them to describe how they had positively contributed to their high schools and communities and to explain how their identities and life experiences shaped their view of the world and their place in it.
In his remarks to the gathered scholars, Maher focused on these identities, noting that the recipients of the scholarship represent the diversity of Providence Public Schools.
“You’ve been in city that’s full of different cultures, languages and ethnicities, and it’s beautiful — but that’s not the way a lot of college campuses look,” Maher said. “But you belong there and never let anyone make you feel differently. Remember that as you go off and do these wonderful, brilliant things.”
The 2017-18 Fund for the Education of the Children in Providence scholars include:
- Elijah Akindolie graduated from Hope High School and will attend Wheaton College.
- Melannie Alomar Moreno graduated from Alvarez High School and will attend Providence College.
- Gerardo Castaneda graduated from Hope High School and will attend the University of Massachusetts Boston.
- Yorleny Escobedo graduated from E-Cubed Academy and will attend Rhode Island College.
- Kyara Ferrage graduated from Hope High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island.
- Emely Galvez graduated from Hope High School and will attend Rhode Island College.
- Anilette Harushimana graduated from Central High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island.
- Sara Jackson graduated from Hope High School and will attend Providence College.
- Azia Johnson graduated from Times2 STEM Academy and will attend Providence College.
- Sentia Manengeri graduated from Times2 STEM Academy and will attend the University of Hartford.
- Mohamadou Mbaye graduated from Hope High School and will attend Boston College.
- Emilia Mendez graduated from Central High School and will attend Providence College.
- Thaina Merlain graduated from Classical High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island.
- Aletha Nuahn graduated from Central High School and will attend Providence College.
- Luis Perez attended Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School and will attend Lasell College.
- Ivette Quinonez graduated from the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex and will attend Rhode Island College.
- Marlena Rodrigues graduated from Classical High School and will attend Temple University.
- Ramses Taveras graduated from E-Cubed Academy and will attend College of the Holy Cross.
- Pichkatna Ung graduated from the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex and will attend the University of Rhode Island.
- Dylan Vongkaisone graduated from Hope High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island.