2017 AWARD WINNERS
This Award Highlights Teens That Demonstrate Excellence In Their Academic
And Personal Life
And Personal Life
MEDGAR EVERS COLLEGE PREP SCHOOL, BROOKLYN, NY
Marissa lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her mother, older brother and little sister. Marissa started her higher education at Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in sixth grade, where she had the opportunity to take high school courses and regents classes, and even has a chance to graduate high school with an Associate’s Degree. By the end of ninth grade, she passed all the required high school regents, and two AP courses-U.S History and Biology.
Her hobbies include reading, drawing, and writing. Since young, she loved writing stories and poems. At the moment she has her heart set on becoming a veterinarian, but her career interests range from anything STEM related. She codes in her free time: she has attended several Black Girl Code Events, even winning their 2015 Hackathon. She is also currently enrolled in an Intro to Programming Nanodegree course. She is unique in that she is quirky, creative, playful, independent, and maybe a bit quixotic. She is currently in tenth grade, her course load consists of six AP’s which consists of Computer Science, Chemistry, Calculus, English Literature, Seminar and Mandarin, all at the age of fifteen. Marissa will be sixteen on March 21st.
New York University, Social & Cultural Analysis Student
Sydni Snaggs is an 18-year-old Brooklyn native who dedicates her time and energy to mentoring youth and giving back to her community. Growing up in a single parent household, Sydni made it a point to serve as a leader to her peers by encouraging and supporting them through their obstacles and challenges. For about 4 years, Sydni has worked with the YWCA Brooklyn on pioneering their social justice youth council and has assisted in creating the foundation and development of the YWLEAD college access program. As a YWLEADer, Sydni leads events, speaks on panels, and lends her voice to positive change on every platform that she is given.
Sydni has a passion for advocacy, youth development, and knowledge. She believes that there is something to be learned in every situation or experience. Although her family originated in the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Sydni is a first-generation college student attending New York University studying Social and Cultural Analysis. She hopes to minor in Dance, which she studied throughout high school. Sydni thanks God, her family, mentors and friends for helping to shape who she is today. She sees a long future of advocacy, mentoring, and community building ahead of her.
BENJAMIN BANNEKER ACADEMY, BROOKLYN, NY
In the future, I want to become an audiologist/speech pathologist. I envision myself providing help to people who need help. In life, I think about the quote “A life with a goal is a life that is whole”. I wanted to get a job that I would see myself doing and a job where I can help people. I wear hearing aids so I understand what it means to have a disability. In school, sometimes I would cry and ask for help because I can’t hear much in my classes. Sometimes I have that feeling, that my hearing disability would affect my school work but it didn’t at all. I went into a depression one point in my life; I had so much going in my life. I was trying to do my work, my friend died that time, I just think about the fact that I don’t have a father; and I have friends that have both of their parents and I wonder what would life be like with my father in my life (my friends are all daddies girls). I just have every negative thought coming into my head. I often think of if I’m going to fail, or why I’m not good enough and if my father knew about me and I thought of every question possible till I fell into a deep depression; where I would just be crying and sensitive at every little thing and I would be listening to depressing music. I realized that I had so much going for life; that I had a purpose and that someone needed my help somewhere, and that I shouldn’t give up on life because I had so much in store for me. I was depressed but I wasn’t looking to harm myself or suicide. I just wanted some attention that time and for someone to finally see my hard work I put into everyday; I needed someone to help me realize that I don’t need nobody by myself but to be able to focus on myself and I do this from now on. I had that someone, she worked at my middle school; and she turned my sad days into happy days along with a few of my friends. I had a lot of ups and downs but I managed to analyze my experiences; and learn from my mistakes.