The awards, from Brown’s Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence, will go to college-bound students from the city’s public high schools.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Twenty high school seniors from Providence public schools were honored with college scholarships from Brown University’s Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence at an event held at the home of Brown President Christina Paxson on Monday, June 12.

Paxson commended the students for their hard work and perseverance in high school and acknowledged that some of them had contended with difficult life experiences, noting that many come from families new to the United States and are the first in their family to attend college. She encouraged them to view those experiences as strengths.

“As you head to college, know that you bring unique talents and perspectives to campus,” Paxson said in addressing the scholarship recipients at the event. “Trust that your life experience will be valued and welcomed. And when you get there, be your remarkable selves.” 

Scholarship recipient Roberto Cabrera gets his picture taken with Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza at Monday night's reception. Cabrera attended Central High School and plans to study nursing or business at Rhode Island College in the fall.

Other speakers included Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Doris De Los Santos, executive director of partnership and engagement for Providence schools, who presented the awards. Chris Maher, superintendent of Providence schools, attended along with families, teachers and college counselors of the honorees.

Elorza encouraged students to use their college experience to provide opportunity to others. 

“It’s been an entire community, an entire village, that has allowed you to get to this point,” the mayor said. “And now that you’re going off to college, you’ll soon be in positions where you can open doors for others. Whether doors are being opened for you right here in Providence or in some other community… make sure that the door is cracked just a little wider open for those who come after you.”

For the last four years, the fund — established in response to recommendations from the University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, whose charge was to acknowledge the damage done by slavery and to recommend ways that Brown might create a more just future — has been used to support the scholarships awarded to graduates of Providence’s public high schools. This year, the fund received nearly 100 applications for scholarships, a record number.

The students each received a $2,500 scholarship toward their college expenses. They represent seven Providence high schools and will attend a broad range of four-year institutions of higher education in the coming year, including Brandeis University, Holy Cross University, Boston College, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. 

For Central High School senior Roberto Cabrera, who will head to Rhode Island College this fall to study nursing or business, the award was hard won. 

“I was surprised when I won,” he said. “I had to put a lot of effort into applying. It was a real challenge, and I am glad that it paid off. This scholarship really means a lot to me… and opens so many doors for me.” 

A broad-based committee chooses the awardees. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 or higher grade point average throughout high school, have a strong attendance record and demonstrate financial need. Preference is given to students who would be the first in their families to attend college. Applicants are asked to write short essays as part of the application. Essay questions this year asked applicants to describe how they had positively contributed to their community and to design an elective course, describing what they would want students to learn. 

The 2016-17 Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence scholars include:

Yamely Alvarez Castillo attended Alvarez High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Roberto Cabrera attended Central High School and will attend Rhode Island College

Licelot Caraballo attended E-Cubed Academy and will attend College of the Holy Cross

Ismailis Garcia Martinez attended Alvarez High School and will attend Rhode Island College

Bethania Jimenez attended Alvarez High School and will attend College of the Holy Cross

Jorge Ledee Bernard attended Mt. Pleasant High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Ashley Lopez attended E-Cubed Academy and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Saywath Luangsidasay attended Alvarez High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Monica Melgarejo-Melendez attended Central High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Ezequiel Parrilla attended Mt. Pleasant High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Dania Polanco attended Alvarez High School and will attend Providence College

Reniel Rodriguez Marte attended Central High School and will attend the University of Rhode Island

Channel Rosario Perez attended Hope High School and will attend Rhode Island College

Glorianny Sanchez De Jesus attended Alvarez High School and will attend Rhode Island College

Xilian Sansoucy attended Classical High School and will attend Northeastern University

Fady Santana attended Hope High School and will attend Rhode Island College

Ku Shar attended Juanita Sanchez Education Complex and will attend Rhode Island College

Sixto Taveras Lopez attended Classical High School and will attend Boston College

Alicia Terrero attended Classical High School and will attend Providence College

Leinni Valdez attended Hope High School and will attend Brandeis University