20 Essex County 9th Graders Chosen for New Dorson Scholars Program

East Orange, NJ: Last Saturday, November 2nd, 2019, Dorson Community Foundation, a college prep nonprofit dedicated to providing supplementary college readiness and career development enrichment to inner-city North Jersey students, welcomed their first cohort of ninth grade students for the organization’s newly launched Dorson Scholars Program.

The organization launched a widespread recruitment process this August seeking highly-motivated ninth graders for their new, four-year, tuition-free, college prep program. They received a whopping 75 applications from students across Essex County and spent three weeks interviewing each candidate and their parents, while assessing candidates for their academic promise, college aspiration, self-motivation, leadership potential, and commitment to the Dorson Scholars Program’s unique four-year model.

Following an intense application and selection process, the selection committee whittled their selection down to 20 students:

Bernadette Asuquo — Newark Tech

Alexander Cruz— Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech

Tyler Robert Cupidon— Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech

Justin Dapaah— STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges

Tracy Dokie— East Orange STEM Academy

Javon Eriste— St. Benedict’s Preparatory

Obaloluwa Fasoro— Newark Tech

Jazzera Francs— Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech

Martha Johnson Jackson— STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges

Ja-Niyah Jones— Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech

Laylah Kidd— Orange Preparatory Academy

Jada Lambert— East Orange STEM Academy

Jemelie Mercado— East Orange STEM Academy

Carla Minchala— Orange Preparatory Academy

Titus Nigriel— Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech

Ehinobhen Okhuakhua— East Orange Campus High School

Tamyra Rumble— STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges

Kiran Seepersad— East Orange STEM Academy

Fatiyah Sercey— East Orange STEM Academy

Yasheka Smith— STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges

Throughout their four years in high school, Dorson Scholars will engage in year-round programming focused on college readiness skill-building, career exploration and professional development, SAT exam prep, and college advising to help prepare the students for admission to the college of their dreams. The curriculum pulls on volunteer professionals who serve as instructors and guest speakers for many of the Program’s classes, infusing a community engagement element into the Program.

“Our Program is designed to develop students into strong high school students who will be ready to take on college coursework by the time they graduate,” says Dorson’s Executive Director Natasha Scott. “Our Scholars will also gain the professional skills needed to succeed in the workforce and become engaged citizens invested in their communities. They will become well-rounded individuals and future change agents.”

The huge influx of applications in the Program’s very first year signals the overwhelming need for college prep programs in Essex County. “It’s important for students to engage early in the college prep process,” says Scott. “In the more affluent corners of Essex County, students are receiving private tutoring, college counseling, and additional resources not often afforded to inner-city students. Our program is working to level the playing field to ensure that highly motivated students across the county are getting the support and guidance they need to access postsecondary education,” Scott added.

The Dorson Scholars Program and Dorson Community Foundation are funded through private donations from generous individuals and institutions. By becoming a donor, you will be giving deserving students the opportunity to rise to their full academic and career potential.

About Dorson Community Foundation


Dorson Community Foundation provides supplementary college readiness and career development enrichment to students from inner-city North Jersey so they can realize their full potential with the goal of continuing on to higher education.

Media Contact

Kellion Knibb





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Tel. 973-280-9565

Email: info.dcfoundation@gmail.com

280 S. Harrison Street, Suite 300, East Orange, NJ 07018

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