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.