WEST ORANGE, NJ — After nearly two years, the new executive director and members of the board of commissioners for the Newark Housing Authority decided early this year that they would make every effort to revive a former annual event meant to benefit high school students in need of financial support so they can pursue a college education. Executive Director Victor Cirilo, who is also a member of the West Orange Township Council, and his team promised and delivered. The weather cooperated for a perfect day of golf on July 9 when nearly 80 players gathered to benefit the Newark Housing Authority Scholarship Foundation Golf Outing at the Essex County Country Club in West Orange.
The purpose of the scholarship foundation is to increase the likelihood of high school students from Newark entering and graduating from college. Since its beginning 30 years ago, the foundation has raised more than $2.5 million and sent 500-plus smart, talented students to top universities and colleges. The students have attended Harvard, Wellesley, Morehouse and Howard University, among many others.
“Many of these students come from single-parent families living in the city where low educational expectations are the norm,” Housing Authority Chairman Eddie Osborne said in a press release. “Most, if not all, are the first in their families to go to college. Yet, these exceptional students have not only persevered, but excelled. Our hope is that they successfully graduate college and serve as an example to other young scholars we have living in public housing.”
Scholarship recipients display a combination of high academic achievement and strong dedication to their community; they spend a large percentage of their free time volunteering with local organizations. This year’s recipients are: Journee Ross, who graduated first in her class from Bard Early College High School and will attend the University of San Francisco in the fall; Taquine Brown, a graduate of American History High School who will enter William Paterson University in September; Ashley Gomez, who is headed to John Jay College of Criminal Justice after having completed her studies at Arts High School; and Central High School graduate Destiny Davis and Science Park High School graduate Cristian Silega, who will both be traveling to New Brunswick to attend Rutgers University. Each scholarship receipt received a total of $5,000 to go toward their tuition and other college expenses.
Among those supporting the event was Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr., who joined many other community and business leaders. The Scholarship Foundation Golf Outing is strongly supported by local businesses such as McManimon, Scotland & Baumann; Boraie Development; and The Michaels Organization.
“Without the support of these businesses and organizations, our outstanding young people would not be able to fulfill their potential,” Cirilo said in the release. “Their generosity extends a high return of investment in the form of a stronger, healthier community, which benefits all. We thank them for choosing to be a part of these students’ lives.”
For more information on the Newark Housing Authority Scholarship Foundation, visit the Housing Authority website at www.newarkha.org or Facebook Page at “Newark Housing Authority.”
Photos Courtesy of Cristina Pinzon