Young Scholars ’10 | Delbarton School ’16 | Princeton University ’20
“NJ SEEDS isn’t just an acronym or some group of kind people hoping to make a difference. SEEDS is change. It has changed my life in so many ways that I could not even begin to explain. It flipped my perspective about my education, and helped to make me a more capable and confident person.”
Paulo Frazao was a fourth grader living in Newark when he made the decision to apply to SEEDS’ Young Scholars Program. At first, he wasn’t interested in what SEEDS had to offer. Though he liked school and learning, the idea of spending two summers and Saturdays doing extra work did not sound very appealing to him. It was his mother who changed his mind. “When I told her about the information session and all that SEEDS could provide, she insisted that I think it over. After all, in exchange for a more rigorous and fulfilling secondary school experience, all that I had to do was work a bit harder and show that I was ready to undertake those challenges. I saw her point. SEEDS promised so much at the outset, and they delivered on all of it.”
He found the work in the 14-month Young Scholars Program more difficult than the curriculum in his home middle school. But through this challenging work, Paulo felt SEEDS prepared him very well for what was to come. “I went into Delbarton with a strong academic underpinning that proved essential. SEEDS instilled in me that drive and love for learning, and that has proven to be a great motivator.
“SEEDS also did a great job of preparing me for the social life that I fell into at Delbarton. While I’ve always considered myself an outgoing person, I never knew where to draw the line between school and friends before SEEDS. Simply put, in my mind, school was the focus, and that was that. But SEEDS showed me that the two actually go hand-in-hand. When you find people that you like and that like you, you can work together, building one another up and making it that much easier and more pleasant to work towards your academic goals. This strategy and the amazing friendships that it has helped to forge have proven to be another crucial element to my academic experience both at Delbarton and today, at Princeton.”
SEEDS has been there throughout Paulo’s educational journey. “It was easy to stay in touch. Guidance officers visited my high school on a regular basis, and I spoke with my Guidance officer almost every month. The organization sent emails informing me about events, meetings and other opportunities. Even the people at SEEDS made it hard to pull away; they are all so welcoming that anyone would find it difficult not to keep in touch.”
Paulo is grateful for the opportunities he’s had since he decided to take a chance with SEEDS. “To most people, school is just another responsibility. It’s something that they do for seven hours every day because it’s expected of them, and then they never look back. They may not see the value in the opportunities offered to them, but not necessarily extended to others. I remain very grateful to my mother for pushing me in YSP’s direction, and to SEEDS for these very opportunities and for everything else in my life. I can never repay SEEDS for their kindness and generosity to me over the years. I can only hope to keep growing and changing for the better in the way they taught me.”