New Jersey SEEDS

August 11, 2014 10:30 ET

113 Scholars and Young Scholars in New Jersey SEEDS Graduate From Programs

NEWARK, NJ--(Marketwired - August 11, 2014) - One hundred thirteen rising sixth, seventh, and ninth graders enrolled in New Jersey SEEDS' Scholars and Young Scholars Programs celebrated their commencement on August 2. New Jersey SEEDS is a nonprofit organization that transforms the educational opportunities of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families. Students participating in SEEDS' Scholars and Young Scholars Programs complete 14 months of advanced academic coursework before being placed in selective schools across the country.

The Scholars Program is a tuition-free academic program designed to prepare eighth-grade students in New Jersey for success in academically rigorous selective schools with substantial financial aid packages. The Young Scholars Program works with children in fifth and sixth grades in Greater Newark. Students enrolled in the tuition-free program engage in academic classes before placement in day or junior boarding schools, also with significant financial aid. Competition for both programs is intense; nearly 650 students applied last year for just 150 spots.

"Our students have worked incredibly hard over the past 14 months to advance their educations, and we are so proud of all that they have accomplished," says SEEDS President Ronni Denes. "In addition to attending classes with SEEDS over two summers and every Saturday in between, our scholars maintained exceptional grades and demonstrated leadership and engagement in extracurricular activities ranging from athletics to the arts. These are remarkably dedicated students, well on their way to achieving great academic successes."

On Saturday, August 2, family members and friends joined SEEDS staff, faculty, student advisors, board members and donors at Summit High School to celebrate the accomplishments of these scholars. Leah Pagan (Scholars '14, St. Paul's School '18) and Emmanuel Lawal (Young Scholars '14, Church Farm School '20) represented their classmates by serving as the event's student speakers.

"SEEDS Scholars and Young Scholars in the Class of 2014 have a great deal to be proud of," explains Imani Gilliam, Dean of Scholars Programs. "Because of their hard work, they'll enter selective schools across the country, and will receive approximately $3,000,000 in financial aid directly from the schools they will attend."

At the ceremony, several students were honored for academic and leadership accomplishments:

  • Christian Flores was named the Amy Ziebarth Scholar for his passion for social justice and strong commitment to SEEDS while enrolled in the Scholars Program.
  • Dhwani Bharvad was named the Blair MacInnes Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and dedication to education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Maria Marin was the recipient of the Cavalier Scholarship, which helps to underwrite tuition at an independent school for a high-achieving student. The scholarship is generously awarded by the F&P DeRosa Memorial Fund.
  • Sahibdip Saini was presented with the Dean's Award for his overall accomplishments, strong leadership, citizenship, exceptional academic qualities and great personality while enrolled in the Scholars Program.
  • Michael Montenegro was named the Dwight L. Wilson Scholar for his personal and work ethics, honesty, integrity, and love of education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Rebeka Zambrano was named the Edward and Barbara Becker Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and exemplary work while in the Young Scholars Program.
  • Bao Pham was named the John S. Scurci Scholar, for being an exceptional SEEDS student who will be attending The Pingry School.

Congratulations to the New Jersey SEEDS' graduates! 

Young Scholars Class of 2014 
Revival Afolabi Jason Jean Baptiste Daniela Rivera
Elizabeth Agyei Emmanuel Lawal Evelyn Stewart
Michelle Carneiro Ian Lozano Erick Tapia
Miguel Castellano Afia Oduro-Manu Joseph Townsend
Tony Fajardo Cindy Padilla Patrick Uket
Abel Guzman Medina Purefoy-Craig Natalia West
Dafne Hernandez Izabo Ramos Jahnathan White
Jaden James Ajune' Richardson Rebeka Zambrano
Scholars Class of 2014 
Wafiq Abdullah Jibril Hammond Zain Mughal
Nathan Antwi Ahmad Higazy Christian Oberst
Dhwani Bharvad Tyreese James Fawaz Okoya
Nathalie Bonilla Tania Jaramillo Kimberly Osorio
Gabrielle Bonneau Phito Jean-Louis Andres Padilla
Akeya Brown Aneela Kanhai Leah Pagan
Hailie Cadeau Harleen Kaur Misa Patel
Maria Cartagena Daiden Kent Bao Pham
Wellington Cedeno Basson Kollock Jeaneville Quaye
Ovidio Chavez Collethea Lambert Michael Ratsimbazafy
Jacques Clovis Olubukola Lana Nicholas Rengifo
Erin Crowder Anne Marie Langan Vanessa Saenz
Luz Estrella Cruz Mary Le Sahibdip Saini
Kaliyah Dorsey Michael Le Emily Sanchez
Tristan Edwards Tiffany Le Kiana Shell
Mekkah El-Amin Danny Lin Jasjeet Singh Kandola
Katherine Erazo Kalel Lopez
Tanveer Singh
Ciara Escobar Damara Lowery
Joshua Smith
Cindy Espinosa Luis Magana-Contreras
Alexander Sukach
Imanuel Familia Maria Marin
Anmol Surpur
Jessica Fertig Ivana Mejia
Ryan Torres
Christian Flores Valeria Mendoza
Yahaira Torres
Daniel Flores Lauren Menjivar
Sunjana Uddin
Nicholas Francisco
Sebastian Meza
Sara Vargas
Cindy Funes
Yves-Myriam Millien
John Vergara
Giselle Garcia
Stanley Mo
Audrey Vu
Dianna Georges
Michael Montenegro
Shania Weatherington
Kayle Gomez
Roberto Montesdeoca
Tyler White
Lance Grant
Dambite Morency
Yassmeen Youssef
Sarah Guirgis
Yesenia Mozo

New Jersey SEEDS would like to thank the following partner schools for offering admission and substantial financial aid packages to SEEDS students this year:

All Saints Episcopal  Groton School  Pennington School
 Day School  The Hill School  Perkiomen School
Berkshire School  Hotchkiss School  Phillips Academy - Andover
Blair Academy  The Hudson School  Phillips Exeter Academy
Buxton School  Hun School of Princeton  The Pingry School
Cambridge School  Kent Place School  Portsmouth Abbey School
 of Weston  Kent School  Rectory School
Canterbury School  Kimball Union Academy  Saddle River Day School
Cate School  Kiski School  Salem Academy
Christ the King Prep  Lawrenceville School  Seton Hall
Christchurch School  Madeira School   Preparatory School
Christian Brothers Academy  Masters School  Shattuck-St. Mary's School
Church Farm School  McCallie School  St. Andrew's School (DE)
Concord Academy  Mercersburg Academy  St. George's School
Dana Hall School  Middlesex School  St. Mark's School
Deerfield Academy  Montclair Cooperative  St. Mary School
Delbarton School   School  St. Paul's School
Dublin School  Montclair Kimberley  Stoneleigh Burnham School
Dwight-Englewood School   Academy  Tabor Academy
Ethel Walker School  Moorestown Friends School  Taft School
Far Brook School  Morristown-Beard School  Thacher School
Fryeburg Academy  Oak Knoll School  Trinity School
George School  Oratory Prep  Wardlaw-Hartridge School
Gill St. Bernard's School  Peck School  West Nottingham Academy
Governor's Academy  Peddie School  White Mountain School

Photos from the event are now available. To receive high-resolution images, please contact Theresa Murray at

About New Jersey SEEDS

Since its inception in 1992, New Jersey SEEDS has provided educational access for highly motivated, low-income students and created a viable path for them to achieve their full potential. SEEDS strives for a world in which young people's initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status. To date, 2,000 scholars have benefited from its programs. For more information, visit

New Jersey SEEDS is grateful to the following corporations and foundations for supporting the Scholars and Young Scholars Programs this year: Anonymous; Charles E. and Edna T. Brundage Foundation; COACH; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Curtis W. McGraw Foundation; David Mathey Foundation; Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.; Goldman Sachs; Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation; Investors Bank Foundation; J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trust; Jockey Hollow Foundation; John S. Scurci Foundation; Lillian P. Schenk Fund; Lucy and Eleanor S. Upton Charitable Foundation; NASDAQ OMX Group Educational Foundation; Norman & Bettina Roberts Foundation; Page & Otto Marx, Jr. Foundation; PNC Foundation; Ralph M. Cestone Foundation; Rivendell Foundation; and Victoria Foundation.

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