113 Scholars and Young Scholars in New Jersey SEEDS Graduate from Programs

One hundred thirteen rising sixth, seventh, and ninth graders enrolled in New Jersey SEEDS’ Scholars and Young Scholars Programs celebrated their commencement on August 2. New Jersey SEEDS is a nonprofit organization that transforms the educational opportunities of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families. Students participating in SEEDS’ Scholars and Young Scholars Programs complete 14 months of advanced academic coursework before being placed in selective schools across the country.

The Scholars Program is a tuition-free academic program designed to prepare eighth-grade students in New Jersey for success in academically rigorous selective schools with substantial financial aid packages. The Young Scholars Program works with children in fifth and sixth grades in Greater Newark. Students enrolled in the tuition-free program engage in academic classes before placement in day or junior boarding schools, also with significant financial aid. Competition for both programs is intense; nearly 650 students applied last year for just 150 spots.

“Our students have worked incredibly hard over the past 14 months to advance their educations, and we are so proud of all that they have accomplished,” says SEEDS President Ronni Denes. “In addition to attending classes with SEEDS over two summers and every Saturday in between, our scholars maintained exceptional grades and demonstrated leadership and engagement in extracurricular activities ranging from athletics to the arts. These are remarkably dedicated students, well on their way to achieving great academic successes.”

On Saturday, August 2, family members and friends joined SEEDS staff, faculty, student advisors, board members and donors at Summit High School to celebrate the accomplishments of these scholars. Leah Pagan (Scholars ’14, St. Paul’s School ’18) and Emmanuel Lawal (Young Scholars ’14, Church Farm School ’20) represented their classmates by serving as the event’s student speakers.

“SEEDS Scholars and Young Scholars in the Class of 2014 have a great deal to be proud of,” explains Imani Gilliam, Dean of Scholars Programs. “Because of their hard work, they’ll enter selective schools across the country, and will receive approximately $3,000,000 in financial aid directly from the schools they will attend.”

At the ceremony, several students were honored for academic and leadership accomplishments:

  • Christian Flores was named the Amy Ziebarth Scholar for his passion for social justice and strong commitment to SEEDS while enrolled in the Scholars Program.
  • Dhwani Bharvad was named the Blair MacInnes Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and dedication to education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Maria Marin was the recipient of the Cavalier Scholarship, which helps to underwrite tuition at an independent school for a high-achieving student. The scholarship is generously awarded by the F&P DeRosa Memorial Fund.
  • Sahibdip Saini was presented with the Dean’s Award for his overall accomplishments, strong leadership, citizenship, exceptional academic qualities and great personality while enrolled in the Scholars Program.
  • Michael Montenegro was named the Dwight L. Wilson Scholar for his personal and work ethics, honesty, integrity, and love of education while enrolled in the New Jersey SEEDS Scholars Program.
  • Rebeka Zambrano was named the Edward and Barbara Becker Scholar for her outstanding academic achievement and exemplary work while in the Young Scholars Program.
  • Bao Pham was named the John S. Scurci Scholar, for being an exceptional SEEDS student who will be attending The Pingry School.

Congratulations to New Jersey SEEDS’ graduates!

Young Scholars Class of 2014

Revival Afolabi
Elizabeth Agyei
Michelle Carneiro
Miguel Castellano
Tony Fajardo
Abel Guzman
Dafne Hernandez
Jaden James
Jason Jean Baptiste
Emmanuel Lawal
Ian Lozano
Afia Oduro-Manu
Cindy Padilla
Medina Purefoy-Craig
Izabo Ramos
Ajune' Richardson
Daniela Rivera
Evelyn Stewart
Erick Tapia
Joseph Townsend
Patrick Uket
Natalia West
Jahnathan White
Rebeka Zambrano 

Scholars Class of 2014

Wafiq Abdullah

Nathan Antwi

Dhwani Bharvad

Nathalie Bonilla

Gabrielle Bonneau

Akeya Brown

Hailie Cadeau

Maria Cartagena

Wellington Cedeno

Ovidio Chavez

Jacques Clovis

Erin Crowder

Luz Estrella Cruz

Kaliyah Dorsey

Tristan Edwards

Mekkah El-Amin

Katherine Erazo

Ciara Escobar

Cindy Espinosa

Imanuel Familia

Jessica Fertig

Christian Flores

Daniel Flores

Nicholas Francisco

Cindy Funes

Giselle Garcia

Dianna Georges

Kayle Gomez

Lance Grant

Sarah Guirgis

Jibril Hammond

Ahmad Higazy

Tyreese James

Tania Jaramillo

Phito Jean-Louis

Aneela Kanhai

Harleen Kaur

Daiden Kent

Basson Kollock

Collethea Lambert

Olubukola Lana

Anne Marie Langan

Mary Le

Michael Le

Tiffany Le

Danny Lin

Kalel Lopez

Damara Lowery

Luis Magana-Contreras

Maria Marin

Ivana Mejia

Valeria Mendoza

Lauren Menjivar

Sebastian Meza

Yves-Myriam Millien

Stanley Mo

Michael Montenegro

Roberto Montesdeoca
Dambite Morency

Yesenia Mozo

Zain Mughal

Christian Oberst

Fawaz Okoya

Kimberly Osorio

Andres Padilla

Leah Pagan

Misa Patel

Bao Pham

Jeaneville Quaye

Michael Ratsimbazafy

Nicholas Rengifo

Vanessa Saenz

Sahibdip Saini

Emily Sanchez

Kiana Shell

Jasjeet Singh Kandola

Tanveer Singh

Joshua Smith

Alexander Sukach

Anmol Surpur

Ryan Torres

Yahaira Torres

Sunjana Uddin

Sara Vargas

John Vergara

Audrey Vu

Shania Weatherington

Tyler White

Yassmeen Youssef

New Jersey SEEDS would like to thank the following partner schools for offering admission and substantial financial aid packages to SEEDS students this year.

All Saints Episcopal Day School
Berkshire School
Blair Academy
Buxton School
Cambridge School of Weston
Canterbury School
Cate School
Christ the King Prep
Christchurch School
Christian Brothers Academy
Church Farm School
Concord Academy
Dana Hall School
Deerfield Academy
Delbarton School
Dublin School
Dwight-Englewood School
Ethel Walker School
Far Brook School
Fryeburg Academy
George School
Gill St. Bernard's School
Governor's Academy
Groton School
The Hill School
Hotchkiss School
The Hudson School
Hun School of Princeton
Kent Place School
Kent School
Kimball Union Academy
Kiski School
Lawrenceville School
Madeira School
Masters School
McCallie School
Mercersburg Academy
Middlesex School
Montclair Cooperative School
Montclair Kimberley Academy
Moorestown Friends School
Morristown-Beard School
Oak Knoll School
Oratory Prep
Peck School
Peddie School
Pennington School
Perkiomen School
Phillips Academy – Andover
Phillips Exeter Academy
The Pingry School
Portsmouth Abbey School
Rectory School
Saddle River Day School
Salem Academy
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Shattuck-St. Mary's School
St. Andrew's School (DE)
St. George's School
St. Mark's School
St. Mary School
St. Paul's School
Stoneleigh Burnham School
Tabor Academy
Taft School
Thacher School
Trinity School
Wardlaw-Hartridge School
West Nottingham Academy
White Mountain School

Photos from the event are now available. To receive high-resolution images, please contact Theresa Murray at tmurray@njseeds.org.

About New Jersey SEEDS

Since its inception in 1992, New Jersey SEEDS has provided educational access for highly motivated, low-income students and created a viable path for them to achieve their full potential. SEEDS strives for a world in which young people’s initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status. To date, 2,000 scholars have benefited from its programs. For more information, visit www.njseeds.org.

New Jersey SEEDS is grateful to the following corporations and foundations for supporting the Scholars and Young Scholars Programs this year: Anonymous; Charles E. and Edna T. Brundage Foundation; COACH; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Curtis W. McGraw Foundation; David Mathey Foundation; Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.; Goldman Sachs; Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation; Investors Bank Foundation; J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trust; Jockey Hollow Foundation; John S. Scurci Foundation; Lillian P. Schenk Fund; Lucy and Eleanor S. Upton Charitable Foundation; NASDAQ OMX Group Educational Foundation; Norman & Bettina Roberts Foundation; Page & Otto Marx, Jr. Foundation; PNC Foundation; Ralph M. Cestone Foundation; Rivendell Foundation; and Victoria Foundation.

Theresa Murray
Manager, Communications & PR
New Jersey SEEDS

About Us

New Jersey SEEDS (Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication, Success) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 that changes the lives of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families by transforming their educational opportunities. We ensure that our students have the knowledge, skills, access and support to thrive at the nation's finest schools and colleges. We strive for a world in which young people's initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socio-economic status.