The Anibal Ramos Jr. Civic Association awarded scholarships totaling $17,500 to 15 deserving high school and college students.
The scholarships were distributed during an awards ceremony at Nanina’s in the Park attended by family members of the students and Newark Schools Superintendent Roger Leon along with a number of administrators for North Ward public schools.
Students attending college received a $2,000 scholarship, while students attending high school received $750.
“I want to congratulate all the scholarship recipients,” Councilman Ramos told the gathering. “You would not be here today if you did not have incredible people around you supporting you along the way and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the family members, friends and supporters who have made it possible for these young people to excel.
Since he was first elected in 2006 as councilman representing the North Ward of Newark, Councilman Ramos has been awarding scholarships to Newark students. ARJ Civic was formed as a non-profit organization nearly a decade to accept donations from supporters who want to support scholarships for students. The organization has distributed more than $150,000 in scholarships during the last decade.
Over the years, the mission of ARJ Civic has expanded to include hosting community events in in Newark and helping families in need. During the ongoing pandemic, ARJ Civic worked with St. James Health to ensure seniors received COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. The association also partnered with the Salvation Army Newark Area Services and other organizations to distribute thousands of boxes of food to Newark residents.
Ramos, who grew up in Newark, attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. At the time, his mother began working part-time to pay the tuition. But she became ill, when he was a sophomore and could no longer work. Ramos said a member of the church anonymously donated money to help pay his tuition.
Ramos said he started the scholarship program as a way to give back to young people who face similar circumstances to the ones he faced.
The following students were awarded $2,000 scholarships for college:
Mathew Xavier Perez-Ramirez, who is attending Kean University
Raphael Castillo, who is attending Bloomsburg University
Leilani Bonet, who is attending Montclair State University
Jennifer Fernandez Sanchez, who is attending Rutgers University Newark
Ashley Nicole Deleon, who is attending Seton Hall University
The following students were awarded $750 to attend private and parochial high schools.
Adalyn Nicole Rivas-Pesantez, who is attending St. Vincent Academy
Mathew Rivera, who is attending Immaculate Conception High School
Mathews Illescas, who is attending St. Benedict's Preparatory School
Justin Alexander Lizardo, who is attending St. Benedict's Preparatory School
Joshua Cardenas, who is attending St. Benedict's Preparatory School
Erin Nana Dufie Appiah, who is attending St. Vincent Academy
Hector Luis Rodriguez III, who is attending Seton Hall Preparatory School
Jarelyss Melendez, who is attending St. Benedict's Preparatory School
Jessenia and Jenniece Rivera, who are attending Portsmouth Abbey School