Meet Our Scholarship Winners!

New Visions for Public Schools is proud to introduce the 10 graduating high school seniors who are recipients of scholarship awards that will help them attend the 4-year colleges of their choice. Nominated by their principals and teachers, the students exhibit the academic ability, perseverance, drive, determination and confidence necessary for success in college.

We will be introducing two students on the Insider blog each day this week. Here are our first two scholarship recipients.

Rejxhis Prifti

Collegiate Institute for Math and Science, 2012
Vassar College, Class of 2016

In 1999, at the age of five, Rejxhis and her family won a lottery in her native country of Albania to move to the United States. Even though they had no family here and knew little English, they persevered. Rejxhis remembers her mother quizzing her nightly from an English dictionary.

"Every night my mother tested me on words I had learned in school," Rejxhis said. "Two of the toughest words I remember learning were 'night' and 'laugh,' even though they seem so simple."

As a result of the nightly drills, Rejxhis' English skills quickly multiplied. A strong student, she has excelled in school and flourished in Advanced Placement and honors classes. Her exemplary work has earned her membership in the National Honor Society as well as on the principal's honor roll.

This month Rejxhis is graduating from Collegiate Institute for Math and Science as their valedictorian. In the fall, Rejxhis will attend Vassar College, and largely influenced by her grandfather, plans to pursue a career in medicine.

"[My grandfather] was always the one who gave me advice and pushed me to do my best," she said. "When he died of a heart attack, I found a greater fascination for biology. If I became a doctor, then I would be able to have the gift of giving people the second chance in life that they deserve."

Keven Lugo

Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics, 2012
Lafayette College, Class of 2016

For many years, Keven and his family moved back and forth between the Dominican Republic and the United States. It wasn’t until the 5th grade, when he was back in the U.S., that Keven started to learn English. Even though Keven could have continued with a Spanish-only curriculum, he wanted the challenge of an immersion program in a new language.

"I remember remaining alone during recess because I couldn't hold a conversation, which made creating friendships impossible," Keven recalls. "My parents noticed my sadness and offered me the opportunity to go back to a Spanish curriculum. I thought about my options and decided that learning English would be extremely beneficial for my future. I remain proud of how much I persisted towards my goal when I was only ten."

That innate persistence, along with his decisions to join the school chess program in the 7th grade, where he quickly became a chess champion, and to coach chess at Camp Ramapo, a summer camp for kids with special needs, helped him emerge from his shell and become the young man he is today.

This month Keven graduated from Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics and was accepted to Lafayette College, where he plans to study civil engineering.

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