Amsterdam, NY/Amsterdam High School
Jonathan was born in Puerto Rico but moved to New York when he was four. He was a very active member in his school and community during his high school career. He participated in a variety of clubs such as Student Government (which he was president of) and NYS Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP). In 11th grade, he and a group of friends started a tutoring and mentoring program that was a collaborative partnership between his school and a local non-profit called Centro Civico of Amsterdam. The program, called “Youth In Action,” sets out to help the youth in his neighborhood to be successful in school and eventually go to college. Besides this, Jonathan is a devoted member of the Segunda Sinagoga Latin American Pentecostal Church, where he is also served as the leader for the children’s group. He enjoys swimming, hanging out with those he is close to, and volunteering. Aside from being a Torch Scholar, Jonathan is a Gates Millennium Scholar.
Sarah Ricki Garey
Washington, DC/Bethesda Chevy Chase High School
Sarah Ricki Garey was born in Washington D.C. She and her younger brother were raised in Maryland. At a very young age, she had big dreams. When asked what she wanted to be when she grows up, she would say,“I want to be a superstar!” This little hope has shined within her and manifested itself into her determined attitude today. Throughout her childhood, she attended different schools within the state. Although she never felt stable at home, she found ways to enjoy her life. Her exposure to different communities has shaped her diverse personality. Sarah is very outgoing, open-minded, and keeps a positive attitude always. She has participated in various extracurricular activities such as D.A.R.E. to Dance, Chorus,Theater, Cultural Clubs, and Academic programs. At her first high school, she became president of the Spanish Club, and was able to bring awareness to the Hispanic culture with tutoring and events. In eleventh grade, at her second high school, she became a leader of the Minority Scholars Program. Sarah’s charismatic personality and constant consideration for others, drives her passion to inspire and help those in need.
Mattapan, MA/Saint Joseph Preparatory High School
Mabel’s parent immigrated here from the Dominican Republic. Living in a low income house hold, she was forced to work and attend school in order to provide for her family. Mabel has been a member of the Mayor's Youth Council for two years, focusing her time on improving and innovating communications between City Hall and young people. She grew up in Mattapan, where public safety is a primary concern for residents. At the age of 14, she was connected to a summer program in which the Boston Police Department partnered with John Hancock Corporation and Boston University to provide a six-week employability training.As a result of that program, she interned at the Mayor's Office of Youth Engagement and Employment and became the city's social media manager, implementing a twitter profile, instagram, and even snapchat.
Providence, RI/Classical High School
Koyeawon has been an active member of her community back in Providence, RI. She was a member of her Track and Field team, Tennis team, and Student Government. While balancing the pressures back home and the stress in school, she found comfort at New Urban Arts, a non-profit organization in Providence that encourages artistic expression. There, she immersed herself in creative writing and becoming more aware of her world around her. She is heavily involved with the youth in her local church, as well as the Information and Technology ministry. Her willingness to try new things and passion to give back always motivated her to push further than what she was expected. She remains devoted to her roots and wants to encourage others to continue to aim high in everything that they do.
Richard Ruiz Mireles
Jerome, Idaho/Wood River High School
Richard was born in Jerome, Idaho. He is the oldest of two children. Since the seventh grade, Richard’s family has moved countless times all over Southern Idaho and even to Mexico. Richard has attended four different high schools and managed to do well in all of them, he even graduated top of his class at the Universidad de la República Mexicana in Mexico City, Mexico. He saw, though, a year later that the education was below par. He was teaching math and english classes to university level students. He decided that he had to return to the United States if he wanted to obtain a better education and make a better future for himself and his family. Richard’s family is everything to him, which is why it was so difficult for him to leave his parents and younger sister behind in Mexico City. It was the first of many difficult decisions that Richard would have to make. He finished his last two years of high school at Wood River in Hailey, Idaho, where he would drive at least an hour each way which limited his time for homework and extracurricular activities. Richard’s interest in mechanical engineering started when he gained knowledge that damages from natural disasters, like the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, could be avoided if things had been done differently by engineers. Richard hopes he can fulfill his dreams at Northeastern University and give back to the countries and communities that have watched him grow and supported him.
Portland, OR/Lincoln High School
Thien came to America from Vietnam with his family when he was in fifth grade. His family, his culture of diligent persistence, his engineering curiosity, and his Church were the foundations from which he built his pathway. At tough times, he was sustained by his grandmother’s kitchen table wisdom and faith. Thien lead a Vietnamese language learning program, was an IT advisor both to his school and to community seniors, connected his family to vital resources, and garnered a prize for his culinary skills.
His nominator wrote:
“Thien, undaunted by adversity, exemplifies the American dream. He honors his roots, and enthusiastically creates opportunities in his adopted country. He has intellectual curiosity, humor, team spirit, discipline, and presence…whoever supports his progress will be investing not just in an individual, but in the communities he has amply demonstrated that he will serve.”
Tayler Fernandes Nunez
Boston, MA/Boston Latin Academy
Tayler was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Her eagerness to help others has influenced her to be involved with her community. She has volunteered at events and recreational activities at an elderly and disabled center called Back of the Hill Apartments. She has also been heavily influenced by the programs offered at a non-profit youth organization called Zumix. At Zumix, she quickly became an active youth participant. She has been involved in most of Zumix’s songwriting, radio and audio programs as well as the Jazz and Soul ensembles. She has used music as a gateway to relieve stress and and to be a positive influence to others. As an independent project at Zumix, Tayler was able to record and produce her very own album called, Rise. In this album, she hopes to motivate youth to be resilient and to keep pushing forward when challenges are thrown at them.
Bronx, NY/Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology
Malik originated from Bronx, New York in an upper class neighborhood in the northern region of the county. He attended was the Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology in Midtown Manhattan. Throughout his high school career, he took the most difficult courses available. His mother was the one who persuaded him into pushing myself in any way or form. To be more interesting and marketable per se is the key to success. A portion of his time is spent conducting community service within the near by neighborhoods. Cooking was a major hobby so he honed it into something more beneficial for other. He prepared meals for recreational centers in low-income areas. The foods consisted of an Indian, Jamaican, and Italian cuisines.
He was an active athlete and a was a very curious young man. He played football, wrestling and ran track and field. He believed the physical wellness is essential for longevity and proficiency. Malik engaged himself into several research opportunities such as the Arthur Ashe Health Science Academy and the New York Historical Society. Both of which geared their students into research components dealing with a particular subject matter.
Malik believes that he and everyone else is like a muscle. In order for that muscle to grow you need to exercise it and destroy. So that new fibers (new ideas and methods) can come into fruition and grow further.
Jean Paul Torre
Charlotte, NC/Myers Park High School
Jean Paul moved to the US from Peru in 2003. After seeing the huge socioeconomic disparity in his high school, he became determined and passionate about helping youth that come from difficult circumstances similar to his. He volunteered at Teen Court, where he moved up the ranks and became an attorney. Teen court is where minors (16 or younger) who have committed crimes go to receive a second chance at life. Instead of getting punished the minors go through creative sentences that are meant to rebuild them. Jean Paul held part time jobs through most of high school to help his father pay bills and to pay for his extracurricular activities. He aspires to one day own his own business and help low income youth escape a life of poverty through education.
Tallahassee, FL/Leon High School
Savannah was involved in her high school’s marching band, Gay-Straight Alliance, Amitié French club, French National Honor Society, and several community service clubs. Savannah was also involved in Great Strides, a nationwide walk, run by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research and drug development. Savannah started a team for the local walk in Tallahassee two years in a row under her cousin’s national team and hopes to start a team for him in Boston. She wishes to help people like her cousin, struggling with cystic fibrosis, whose lives are constantly in the balance of being cut far too short.
Savannah is very committed to her work, academics, family, friends, and her passion to travel and learn new languages.
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