New Jersey SEEDS

August 09, 2013 10:00 ET

Scholars and Young Scholars Graduate From 14-Month NJ SEEDS Programs

NEWARK, NJ--(Marketwired - August 09, 2013) - On Saturday, August 3, 107 students in New Jersey SEEDS' Scholars and Young Scholars Programs completed their 14-month experiences with the organization and celebrated their graduations.

New Jersey SEEDS is an educational nonprofit that transforms the lives of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families. The Scholars Program is a tuition-free academic program designed to prepare eighth-grade students in New Jersey for placement 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 being placed in day or junior boarding schools with significant financial aid directly from the independent schools.

"We're incredibly proud of our Scholars and Young Scholars in the Class of 2013 for all they have accomplished during their time with us," says Ronni Denes, President of New Jersey SEEDS. "In each program, these wonderfully ambitious students spend approximately 400 hours with SEEDS in academic classes. That's in addition to the time they spend in school, in extracurricular activities and completing their SEEDS homework, which is substantial. These are exceptionally dedicated young people who recognize the opportunities that await them in the future if they continue to excel."

Nearly 600 family members and friends joined SEEDS graduates, staff, faculty and board members for the 2013 Scholars and Young Scholars Commencement Ceremony at Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey. Kenza Bouanane (Scholars '13, Brooks School '17) and Anika Buch (Young Scholars '13, Morristown-Beard '20) represented their fellow scholars as Commencement speakers.

In addition, the event's Commencement Address was given by SEEDS alumna Chisa Hutchinson. A member of the organization's first graduating class in 1994, Chisa was placed at Kent Place School by SEEDS. Having never seen a play until her time at Kent Place, Chisa went on to earn her B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. In her speech, Chisa encouraged the next generation of SEEDS scholars to "say yes to everything" when it comes to new experiences and ideas at their independent schools.

Congratulations to New Jersey SEEDS' graduates!

Young Scholars Class of 2013     
John Barahona Jordi DeBarros  Ruqaiyyah Lucas-Caldwell 
Maya Barnes Joss Eyondi  Elizabeth Morel 
Rania Benatia Elijah Green  Taniyyah Payne 
Lucas Bernui Jasmine Harris  Emily Ramos 
Amarie Betancourt Julia Hatchard  Bernardo Stival 
Anika Buch Meilan Holland   
Scholars Class of 2013    
Mariam Abdelhaq Alejandro Garcia  Lauryn Onkendi 
Alexandrea Agyekum Willietta Gombeh  Michael Osei 
Wajdi Ahemed Nicholas Gomez  Makelsey Page 
Sabrina Alves Silvana Gomez  Roshini Panicker 
Albana Baftiri Monica Hanna  Satinder Parmar 
Ruby Bello Anna Hasson  Riya Patel 
Aniyah Borges Mekhi Holley  Cyan Perdue 
Kenza Bouanane De'Jah Jennings  Leonardo Pereira 
Brandon Bustamante Destiny Johnson  Ancelmo Polanco 
Charles Cadena Jereme Johnson  Rafal Promowicz 
Carnela Cady Nirav Kinkhabwala  Luan Quispe 
Noelia Calcano Silvestre Karandeep Komal  Ashfaquar Rahman 
Kenan Can Roselyn Korngor  Israel Ramirez 
Eldad Cano Malik Kosanovich  Akshay Rana 
Richard Chen Enmanuel Lamadrid  Jamir Reddick 
Gabriella Clarizio Amadi Lasenberry  Zishan Sajid 
Shadimere Coles Lazarena Lazarova  Victoria Seymour 
Melissa Cortes Kyairaa LeRose-Almeida  Johanna Sosa 
Kaja Darien Grace Lopez  Chantal Stephenson 
Shubha Debnath Nathali Madrid  Jakub Sudol 
Ymer Dinoshi Ashley Maldonado  Bianca Swidler 
Abraham Eafa Sabrina Marques  Abdul-Nafea Syed 
Kyara Echeverry Kinaya McEady  Viviana Torres 
Ransly Familia Kerry McGrath  Giovanni Vargas, Jr. 
Christopher Figueroa MaSonia McPherson  Ebonie Walker 
Matthew Figueroa Michelle Mendez-Castro  Roanne Yehia 
Daphne Flores Nicole Mora  Amera Youssef 
Mateo Flores Natalia Mora  Stanley Zheng 
Armoni Foster Patrick Mosquera  Nada Zohayr 
Margarita Fuentes Millenah Nascimento  Alejandro Zuleta 

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

  • Jordi DeBarros was named the Edward and Barbara Becker Scholar for his outstanding academic achievement and exemplary work while in the Young Scholars Program.
  • Emily Ramos was named the Cavalier Scholar. The Cavalier Scholarship helps to underwrite tuition at a private school for a deserving student. The scholarship is generously awarded by the F&P DeRosa Memorial Fund.
  • Bianca Swidler was named the Blair MacInnes Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and dedication to education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Abdul-Nafea Syed was named the Dwight L. Wilson Scholar for his sense of personal ethics, honesty, integrity, love of education and willingness to work hard while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Amera Youssef was presented with the Dean's Award for her overall achievement, strong leadership, citizenship, exceptional academic qualities and great personality while enrolled in the Scholars Program.
  • Nada Zohayr was named the Amy Ziebarth Scholar for her passion for social justice and strong commitment to SEEDS while enrolled in the Scholars Program.

New Jersey SEEDS would also like to thank the following partner schools for offering admission and substantial financial aid packages to SEEDS' scholars this year.

All Saints Episcopal Day School   Morristown-Beard School 
Bergen County Academies   Newark Academy 
Berkshire School   Northfield Mount Hermon School 
Blair Academy   Oratory Preparatory School 
Brooks School   Passaic County Technical Institute 
Buxton School   Peck School 
Cambridge School of Weston   Peddie School 
Cate School   Pennington School 
CFS, The School at Church Farm   Perkiomen School 
Chatham Day School   Phillips Academy Andover 
Choate Rosemary Hall   Phillips Exeter Academy 
Concord Academy   The Pingry School 
Dana Hall School   Poly Prep Country Day School 
Deerfield Academy   Pomfret School 
Delbarton School   Princeton Day School 
Dublin School   Putney School 
Dwight-Englewood School   Saddle River Day School 
Episcopal High School   Salem Academy 
Far Brook School   Science Park High School 
Fessenden School   Seton Hall Preparatory School 
Foxcroft School   St. Andrew's School 
Friends Seminary   St. George's School 
Fryeburg Academy   St. Margaret's School 
George School   St. Mark's School 
Gill St. Bernard's School   St. Paul's School 
 Governor's Academy   St. Peter's Preparatory School 
Hackley School   St. Timothy's School 
Health Sciences Technology High School   Stoneleigh-Burnham School
The Hill School   Stony Brook School 
Hudson School   Storm King School 
Kent Place School   Tabor Academy 
Kiski School   Taft School 
Lawrenceville School   Union City High School - Academy for Enrichment and Advancement 
Masters School   Union County Vocational - Technical Schools 
Mercersburg Academy   Wardlaw-Hartridge School 
Middlesex County Academy for Sciences   West Nottingham Academy 
Miss Porter's School   Western Reserve Academy 
Montclair Cooperative School   Westminster School 
Montclair Kimberley Academy   White Mountain School 
Moorestown Friends School   Xavier High School 
Morris County School of Technology    

About New Jersey SEEDS
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, 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, nearly 1,800 scholars have benefited from its programs. For more information, visit

New Jersey SEEDS is grateful to the many individuals who provide major support for Scholars and Young Scholars Programs. In addition, we thank the following corporations and foundations for their support: Alfred J. Speak Scholarship Fund; Bank of America Charitable Foundation; Barclays; Capital Group Companies; Charles E. and Edna T. Brundage Foundation; Clara Louella Day Jeffery Charitable Residuary Trust; The Coach Foundation; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Curtis McGraw Foundation; D'Olier Foundation; David Mathey Foundation; Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.; F.M. Kirby Foundation; Fred C. Rummel Foundation; Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation; Henry S. and Agnes M. Truzack Foundation; Hess Corporation; Hillsdale Fund; Hyde and Watson Foundation; J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trust; Jockey Hollow Foundation; John S. Scurci Foundation; Lillian P. Schenck Fund; Lucy and Eleanor S. Upton Charitable Foundation; NASDAQ OMX Group Educational Foundation; Norman and Bettina Roberts Foundation; Page and Otto Marx, Jr. Foundation; Page Hill Foundation; Piper Sutton Foundation; PNC Foundation; Rivendell Foundation; Union Foundation; Victoria Foundation; and William E. Simon Foundation.

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