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Latino Students from Newark Awarded Scholarships

Six deserving Newark students received scholarships to continue their education in high school and college at the The North Ward Center's 35th Annual Latino Scholarship Dinner, with two of those students receiving a full two-year scholarships to attend Essex County College.

The annual scholarship dinner held on Sept. 17 was hosted by state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz and Newark North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr., who said he was inspired by The North Ward Center's example to start his own scholarship award program.

The North Ward Center's scholarship program was started in 1980 to recognize Newark students of Latino descent who have exhibited academic excellence and triumphed over adversity.

"For 35 years, we have been helping Latino students achieve their dreams of getting a college education," said Stephen N. Adubato, the founder of The North Ward Center and the Robert Treat Academy Charter School. "These students have worked hard and their stories of perseverance are an inspiration to everyone."

One scholarship every year is awarded in honor of Adubato. This year, the scholarship went to Austin Medina, who attended The North Ward Center's preschool as spent nine years at Robert Treat Academy. He attended a boarding high school, the Church Farm School, in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Medina, who was presented the award by Robert Treat Academy Principal Theresa Adubato, currently attends Kean University in Union.

"The City of Newark is where I first learned to love sports and where I first learned to appreciate the athletes that played them," Medina said.

"I have seen the tremendous potential the children in this city have," Medina said. "Once I complete my degree and become a successful athletic trainer I want to come back and help these children see how much they can truly accomplish. I want to show the children of Newark and other urban cities that caring for another and helping your fellow citizen reach their full potential can be just as rewarding as reaching your own potential."

Anthony Alvarez received a scholarship in memory of the late Fedrico Velez, a lawyer who was a member of The North Ward Center's Board of Trustees. The award was presented by Karina Fuentes, Esq. and U.S. Marshal for New Jersey Juan Mattos.

Alvarez, who attends Berkeley College, said he plans a career in law enforcement.

"My passion for law enforcement is why I'm taking criminal justice," Alvarez said. "I feel that by choosing this major, I will learn not all but enough to prepare me for what a person in the law or criminal field has to know. Criminal justice teaches a person how to be both book smart and street smart. This field of study will lead me to becoming what I want most in life."

Another scholarship recipient, Myrick Hill, also graduated from Robert Treat Academy. Paul Parada, vice principal of Robert Treat, presented the scholarship to Hill, who attends the Church Farm School, an elite boarding school in Exton, Pa.

When he gets to college, Hill said, he wants to major in counseling psychology to help students who are struggling.

"I wasn't a straight A student during my years at Robert Treat Academy but I worked hard and I noticed that other students around me that were struggling were working just as hard," Hill said.

"During my eighth grade year, I learned how to take that hard work and struggle and use it to my advantage and I was able to make the honor roll every semester," Hill said. "I want to major in counseling psychology because I want to come back to the city of Newark and help out students who may be struggling in class for any number of reasons. I want to talk to them and let them know that I was in their shoes and I want to help them excel and succeed just like I have."

Roberto Clemente School Principal Yolanda Mendez presented a scholarship to Sarah Soto, who is attending Caldwell College, where she is studying marketing.

"Growing up in a less privileged community has created many challenges, both financially and academically," Soto said. "However, I have been blessed to realize the value of education and how important it is for the success of my future. The North Ward Center's Latino Scholarship is vital to my success, not only because it will relieve the financial pressures of being in college, but because they are investing in my future and enabling me to pursue my vision."

Essex County College President Dr. Gale Gibson presented full, two-year scholarships to Essex County College to Raymaldys Pena and Michael Quiles.

Quiles said he planned to study physical education at Essex County College because exercise changed his life.

"Just 5 years ago my physical appearance was nowhere near what it is today. I actually weighed 100 pounds and I was known as that skinny guy," Quiles said. "The satisfaction I got from reaching my goal was tremendous. I would like others to experience that same satisfaction that I got, that is why I've decided to major in physical education."

Pena, who recently emigrated from the Dominican Republic, learned to speak English at The North Ward Center's Newark Business Training Institute (NBTI).

"Neither of my parents had an opportunity to attend college, and faced many struggles in their personal and professional lives because of this," said Pena, who wants to become an engineer. "They made a commitment early in my life to do everything within their power to instill in me a love of learning and the importance of hard work and dedication. It was through their example that I recognized that I wanted to make a difference in the world."