Part Two: Meet the 2014 New Visions Scholarship Winners!
For the last five years, New Visions has awarded bright, hard-working and well-deserving high school seniors with scholarships to help defray the cost of attending the college of their choice. This year, we are proud to present 10 exceptionally bright students with New Visions scholarships of up to $20,000. The scholarships help cover the gap between a student's financial aid package and the full cost of attending college, including books, laptops and related expenses.
We previously introduced you to Iftikhar Khan and Richard Adjei. Now, meet Wai Wing Lau and Muska Akbari...
Wai Wing Lau
"Writing is not just an art to me, but a form of communication, a means of allowing me to express myself."
When it comes to achieving his goals, Way Wing Lau doesn’t take “no” for an answer. As a child, a speech delay limited the educational opportunities available to him. Not content to remain behind his peers, he obtained reading materials from the advanced class and studied them independently. Through his own initiative, he not only caught up with the other students, but excelled.
“My parents worked a lot so I educated myself,” he said. “I went to the library to catch up with kids who were at an advanced reading level. I borrowed the books they were studying -- and I returned them at the end of the year. I was reading and I grew to love writing.”
Today, Wai Wing has written several literary pieces of various genres and intends to parlay his love of literature and writing into a career as an author or journalist.
In the fall when he attends University of Pennsylvania, he is looking forward to taking advantage of the school’s extensive resources for young writers.
He also hopes to continue making an impact on his community there, following up on his work volunteering for American Red Cross and the American Breast Cancer Foundation and teaching English to the Chinese community in Manhattan.
“I want to be more impactive, not just for myself, but for my community.”
“Being in student government has helped me to be more outspoken and more aware of the community and the world. That has given me a passion for the future and some hope that I can make a change.”
Muska Akbari was born in The Netherlands where her family fled to escape war in their native Afghanistan. When she immigrated to the U.S. at age 10, she spoke Dutch, German and Farsi, but no English.
“At first I didn’t understand anything in class and I wouldn’t speak because I was afraid that I would say the wrong thing but then I was willing to learn. I started reading a lot and that is how I learned.”
As she grew up, Muska’s family endured tremendous financial hardship, including a period of homelessness. At a tender age, she learned to navigate countless hurdles and advocate for herself and others in order to keep her family together. Her experiences with those challenges inspired her current trajectory. She is an active member of student government and knows just how she wants to make her mark on the world.
“I want to study political science and then go to law school to be an immigration lawyer. I want to defend people who don’t have much power in society.”
She is also an accomplished musician, playing the violin and piano in her school’s orchestra and hopes to continue playing when she attends City College in the fall.
“I can finally learn and explore what I’m passionate about like political science. I feel like I’ll be even more passionate about education than I am now. Also meeting new people, joining clubs. People have come to CCNY from all over the world.”