New Jersey SEEDS Congratulates 104 Graduates from Scholars and Young Scholars Programs

On Saturday, August 6, New Jersey SEEDS, a nonprofit providing education access to high-achieving, low-income students, celebrated the accomplishments of 104 students completing its Scholars and Young Scholars Programs. Ninety-nine percent of this year’s Scholars and Young Scholars graduates were placed in a selective school with enough financial aid to matriculate. In fact, next fall, students will receive nearly $4.5 million in financial aid directly from these institutions.

“I want to congratulate each and every member of the Class of 2016,” says John F. Castano, Executive Director of New Jersey SEEDS. “Students – with the support of their families – have worked extremely hard as they prepare for the transition to selective schools. SEEDS is proud of all you have accomplished, and we look forward to your continued success in the future. I also want to thank the schools that partner with SEEDS each year to provide access to these opportunities for our scholars. We’re incredibly grateful for your continued support and the incredible education you provide for SEEDS students.”

Eighty-one rising ninth graders graduated from SEEDS’ Scholars Program and 23 rising sixth and seventh graders completed the Young Scholars Program. Both are free, 14-month programs designed to provide rigorous academic classes over the course of two summers and the Saturdays in between to accepted students. In addition to test preparation and advanced math, English and history classes, Scholars and Young Scholars work closely with SEEDS to apply to the nation’s top day, boarding and junior boarding schools.

More than 400 family members, friends, SEEDS faculty and supporters joined students at the commencement at Summit High School. In addition to keynote remarks from SEEDS alumna Diamond McClintock (Young Scholars Program ‘04, The Pingry School ‘10, Dickinson College ’14), guests heard from student speakers Mark Johnson (Scholars Program ‘16, Moorestown Friends School ’20) and Maria Vieira (Young Scholars Program ’16, Peck School ‘18).

Before the presentation of diplomas, several students were honored for their academic and community achievements over their 14 months with SEEDS.

  • Salma Abdurahman (Fryeburg Academy ’20) was named the Dwight L. Wilson Scholar for her personal and work ethics, honesty, integrity, and love of education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Afran Ali (Groton School ’20) was named the Blair MacInnes Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and dedication to education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Katrina Bergen (Oak Knoll School ’20) was the recipient of The Angela Shankar Foundation Award which is presented to a student with a strong community focus.
  • Courtney Crowder (Kent Place School ’23) was named the Alumni Scholar for representing the ideal SEEDS graduate while enrolled in one of SEEDS’ Scholars Programs.
  • Natalia Jaramillo (Saddle River Day School ’20) was the recipient of the Cavalier Scholarship, which helps to underwrite tuition at independent schools for high-achieving students. The scholarship is generously awarded by the F&P DeRosa Memorial Fund.
  • James Langan (Thacher School ’20) was named the Amy Ziebarth Scholar for his passion for social justice and strong commitment to SEEDS.
  • Joel Moya (Brooks School ’20) was the recipient of this year’s Dean’s Award for his overall achievement, strong leadership, citizenship, exceptional academic qualities and great personality while enrolled in the Scholars Program.
  • Maria Vieira (Peck School ’18) was named the Edward & Barbara Becker Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and exemplary work while in the Young Scholars Program.

“Our students should be very proud of themselves,” explains Imani K. Gilliam, Dean of Programs at New Jersey SEEDS. “From the time they joined us last summer, these students have worked hard to achieve success in their SEEDS classes, complete the application process to selective schools across the country, maintain their academic performance at their home schools, and participate in extracurricular activities. Along with the Programs staff, I want to congratulate our students and their families on all they have achieved, and wish them the best of luck at their placement schools.”

Congratulations to the SEEDS Scholars and Young Scholars in the Class of 2016!

Young Scholars Program:

Ikenna Amadi: Delbarton School

Akasha Baranello: Far Brook School

Dwayne Bazil: The Pingry School

Kaitlin Blount: Morristown-Beard School

Olivia Chima-Anyanka: Rectory School

Courtney Crowder: Kent Place School

Elani Dwyer: Montclair Cooperative School

Anthony Granger II: All Saints Episcopal Day School

Al-Divine Gravesande: Fay School

Jasmine Guayllasaca: Willow School

Joshua Jamurath: Newark Academy

Ean Miller: Chatham Day School

Damar Newcombe: Chatham Day School

Dumebi Okonkwo: Morristown-Beard School

Egbefe Omonzane: Morristown-Beard School

Oluwatoni Oshuntolu: Newark Academy

Amado Rosendo: Willow School

Paris Smith: Princeton Day School

Oluwaseyi Somorin: Chatham Day School

Angel Stevenson: Gill St. Bernard’s School

Evelyn Umezinwa: Morristown-Beard School

Maria Vieira: Peck School

Devin Walcott: Eaglebrook School

Scholars Program:

Salma Abdurahman: Fryeburg Academy

Raffay Ahmed: Princeton International School of Mathematics & Science

Afran Ali: Groton School

Lomesia Allen: Miss Hall’s School

Kezia Almonte: Concord Academy

Zoha Ashraf: Princeton International School of Mathematics & Science

Jasmine Barco: Lawrenceville School

Khalid Bashir: Middlesex School

Katrina Bergen: Oak Knoll School

Melvin Bermudez: Kiski School

Judah Borges: The White Mountain School

Callum Casey: Cate School

Raymond Chen: Nutley High School

Miranda Clemente: Cambridge School of Weston

Derick Cortes: High Tech High School

Ty Cross: Oratory Preparatory School

Aamishq Dhir: Episcopal High School

Marvin Dominguez: Lawrenceville School

Nina Douge: Middlesex School

Ayanna Dukes: The White Mountain School

Dereck Elmera: Dublin School

Sarah Escamilla: Union County Vocational-Technical Schools

Melanie Gamboa: St. Andrew’s School

Kacey Gleaton: West Orange High School

Shameek Hargrave: Northfield Mount Hermon School

Brandon Henry: Lawrenceville School

Bryan Hernandez: Lawrenceville School

Jalen Holmes: Cambridge School of Weston

Imani Hussain: Milton Academy

Ira Hysi: Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Lina Infante: Cate School

Shayla James: Princeton International School of Mathematics & Science

Natalia Jaramillo: Saddle River Day School

Mark Johnson: Moorestown Friends School

Ivana Karcelova: Rutgers Preparatory School

Ramneet Kaur: Garrison Forest School

Cara Khalifeh: Westover School

Harshdeep Komal: Wardlaw-Hartridge School

James Langan: Thacher School

Vincent Langan: Thacher School

Denisa Lata: Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School

Johanna Martinez: Phillips Exeter Academy

Bryanna Mendez: Peddie School

Leandra Mendez: Science Park High School

Gabriela Montero: Pennington School

Angel Morataya: Delbarton School

Joel Moya: Brooks School

Tashana Noel: Morristown-Beard School

Valentina Ochoa Saldarriaga: Deerfield Academy

Jonathan Osma: Gill St. Bernard’s School

Suhani Patel: Trinity School

Zah’kyiah Pennington: Ranney School

Luis Perez: St. Mark’s School

Gabriela Quintero: Dublin School

Amira Rady: Salem Academy

Matthew Rendon: Choate Rosemary Hall

Christian Reyes: Church Farm School

Rheana Riego: The Hudson School

Alizah Rizvi: Newark Academy

Christofer Robles: St. Paul’s School

Emmanuel Roldan: Berkshire School

Carlos Rosario: Cate School

Helen Sileshi: Hackley School

Gurleen Sindhar: Wardlaw-Hartridge School

Roshni Surpur: Choate Rosemary Hall

Nazir Surratt: Newark Academy

Andrew Tarnowski: Bergen County Academies

Sergio Torres: Dwight-Englewood School

Navien Turner: Concord Academy

Taj’hanna Tyson: Stuart Country Day School

Ariel Ugoretz: St. Timothy’s School

Ronald Valencia: Church Farm School

Rebeca Vargas: Peddie School

Ana Villada: Western Reserve Academy

Kishan Vyas: Peddie School

Alanceiah Waiters: Fryeburg Academy

Chyra Williams: St. George’s School

Andre Williams: Seton Hall Preparatory School

Erika Wilson: Cushing Academy

Lajayzia Wright: Hotchkiss School

Nicole Zajac: Union County Magnet School

To receive high-resolution photos of the event, please contact Theresa Murray at [email protected].

Special thanks to the following corporations and foundations for supporting the Scholars and/or Young Scholars Programs this year: Achelis & Bodman Foundations; an anonymous corporation; Bank of America; Capital Group Companies; Charles E. and Edna T. Brundage Foundation; Ralph M. Cestone Foundation; Coach; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Edison Properties Newark Foundation; The Fairbairn Family Foundation; The Heckscher Foundation for Children; Investors Bank Foundation; Clara Louella Day Jeffrey Charitable Residuary Trust; Jockey Hollow Foundation; F.M. Kirby Foundation; Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.; M&T Bank Foundation; Page & Otto Marx, Jr. Foundation; David Mathey Foundation; Curtis W. McGraw Foundation; Neuberger Berman; New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company; The George A. Ohl Jr. Foundation; PNC Foundation; Norman & Bettina Roberts Foundation; Sanofi/Aventis; Lillian P. Schenck Fund; Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation; Henry S. & Agnes M. Truzack Foundation; Lucy and Eleanor S. Upton Charitable Foundation; and Victoria Foundation.