In late November, we welcomed Scholars, alumni, families, mentors and community members to celebrate and welcome our thirteen new Schenectady Scholars. Thanks to a matching grant from The Schenectady Foundation, we expanded our program to include more Scholars than ever before.
Our new Scholars were welcomed by Executive Director Robin Christenson, Schenectady Principal Christopher Chank, and Patty Paser, Assistant to Schenectady Superintendent Laurence Spring.
Attendees also heard from Sponsor-A-Scholar alumna and Syracuse University graduate, Camellia Loojune. She shared her story of success and imparted advice to our younger scholars. Camellia took part in University at Albany's Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) as a high school student. The summer program led her to pursue an accounting degree, and she has worked as an accountant in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She currently works at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
She said: "Sponsor-A-Scholar held me accountable to my goals, and helped me reach them. Soon it will be my turn to pay it forward."
Camellia also urged our Scholars to take advantage of the people and opportunities that were available to them in both high school and college. While she stressed the importance of getting work done, she highlighted the benefits of taking part in extracurricular activities, internships and study abroad programs.
The finale of the evening highlighted our newest Scholars, each shared his or her hopes for the future. They all have exciting goals that range from careers in nursing, engineering, neuroscience and non-profit work. It is always inspiring to hear our students share their dreams. We will be there every step of the way to cheer them on.