Part Two: Meet the 2015 New Visions Scholarship Winners!

Many times, financial aid packages offered by colleges and universities do not cover the full cost of attendance.  Too often, those gaps function as deterrents for students.  For the last six years, New Visions has awarded an exceptional set of high school seniors from New York City with scholarships to help offset the cost of attending the college of their choice.  This year, we are proud to present 10 outstanding students with New Visions scholarships of up to $20,000.  Today, meet…


Gabriel Alvarez
Academy for Careers in Television and Film, 2015
School of Visual Arts, 2019

“According to certain statistics, I was destined to be a high school dropout, a teen parent myself and a failure I believe I have developed resiliency.”

Born to teen parents, who split up within a year of his birth, Gabriel Alvarez faced a difficult path in life but never used it as an excuse.  Even though his father worked graveyard shifts and his family faced multiple risks and hardships, Gabriel believes these experiences “matured me as a person very early in my life and made me realize how much I wanted to defy the statistics that were against me.”

At the Academy for Careers in Television in Film, Gabriel found his passion.  He not only immersed himself in film and production work but volunteered in his free time.  In high school, Gabriel has tutored elementary students; volunteered his photography and videography services for Urban Impact, an organization committed to helping inner city youth with spiritual, academic and family development; and worked on many projects for Next Step Pictures, a nonprofit production company where students work with industry partners and teachers to provide video production services to nonprofits and community businesses.  Through this volunteer work, Gabriel learned “how to handle difficult situations with grace rather than anger.”

Gabriel has learned a valuable lesson early on – in order “to make a successful product, you need to work as a team.”  He will harness this resiliency, team-first attitude, and artistic creativity as he goes to the School of Visual Arts.  Ultimately, Gabriel aspires to a career in the film industry focusing on cinematography or animation.


Sarah Ogunji
New Visions Charter High School for Humanities, 2015
University of Rochester, 2019

“I have made it my goal to be an individual who stands up for herself and who takes pride in who she is.”
 
Sarah Ogunji didn’t always stand up for herself. In elementary and middle school, she was subject to constant bullying from her classmates because of her Nigerian accent and traditional attire.  At New Visions Charter High School for Humanities, Sarah was exposed to a diverse student body, and she thrived. 
 
In her free time, Sarah interned with and assisted a resident doctor as part of a research project at Montefiore Comprehensive Health Care Center; participated annually in Charter Advocacy Day in the Bronx; and provided educational opportunities to students through a community service project in Senegal.  By volunteering at many community organizations, Sarah put her own struggles in perspective.  Moreover, she did all of this while earning 11 college credits through the College Now program at Lehman College.  Committing herself to serving her community and seizing new challenges emboldened Sarah to excel to extraordinary heights.
 
Sarah is no longer the shy girl who accepted the status quo when she was first bullied.  She is now self-confident and ready to change the world.  At University of Rochester, Sarah hopes to study political science so that she can use her voice and her skill to work in government to help those in need.
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