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

Newark, NJ—August 9, 2013—On Saturday, August 3, 106 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. Anika Buch (Young Scholars ’13, Morristown-Beard ’20) represented their fellow scholars as one of the 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 Melian 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
  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 Bonie Walker
Matthew Figueroa Michelle Mendez-Castro Roanna 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

Bergen County AcademiesBerkshire SchoolBlair AcademyBrooks SchoolBuxton SchoolCambridge School of WestonCate SchoolCFS, The School at Church FarmChatham Day SchoolChoate Rosemary HallConcord AcademyDana Hall SchoolDeerfield AcademyDelbarton SchoolDublin SchoolDwight-Englewood SchoolEpiscopal High SchoolFar Brook SchoolFessenden SchoolFoxcroft SchoolFriends SeminaryFryeburg AcademyGeorge SchoolGill St. Bernard’s SchoolGovernor’s AcademyHackley School

Health Sciences Technology High School


The Hill SchoolHudson SchoolKent Place SchoolKiski SchoolLawrenceville SchoolMasters SchoolMercersberg AcademyMiddlesex County Academy for SciencesMiss Porter’s SchoolMontclair Cooperative SchoolMontclair Kimberley Academy

Moorestown Friends School


Morris County School of TechnologyMorristown-Beard SchoolNewark AcademyNorthfield Mount Hermon SchoolOratory Preparatory School

Passaic County Technical Institute


Peck SchoolPeddie SchoolPennington SchoolPerkiomen SchoolPhillips Academy AndoverPhillips Exeter AcademyThe Pingry SchoolPoly Prep Country Day SchoolPomfret SchoolPrinceton Day SchoolPutney School

Saddle River Day School


Salem AcademyScience Park High SchoolSeton Hall Preparatory SchoolSt. Andrew’s SchoolSt. George’s SchoolSt. Margaret’s SchoolSt. Mark’s SchoolSt. Paul’s SchoolSt. Peter’s Preparatory SchoolSt. Timothy’s SchoolStoneleigh-Burnham SchoolStony Brook SchoolStorm King SchoolTabor AcademyTaft SchoolUnion City High School – Academy for Enrichment and AdvancementUnion County Vocational – Technical SchoolsWardlaw-Hartridge SchoolWest Nottingham AcademyWestern Reserve AcademyWestminster SchoolWhite Mountain SchoolXavier High School


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.