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Greatest Generation Scholarships
Published: November 18, 2005
The program selects high-need New York City high school seniors who demonstrate academic performance, leadership skills and a commitment to community service. The program is named after Tom Brokaw's best-selling book about the generation who helped transform America after World War II.

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein joined retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, GE Foundation President Bob Corcoran and Vice Chair of the Fund for Public Schools Caroline Kennedy to announce the six high school recipients of the GE Foundation's "Greatest Generation" Scholarships.

The Greatest Generation Scholarships is a $2 million program for high-need New York City students who demonstrate academic performance, leadership skills and a commitment to community service. The students were selected from more than 100 applicants to receive the grants, which will contribute toward each student's tuition at his or her school of choice. The students joined the Chancellor, Brokaw, Corcoran, and Kennedy for the announcement at City Hall Academy.

"The GE Foundation is an outstanding supporter of New York City public schools," Chancellor Klein said. "On behalf of our City's students, I would like to thank the GE Foundation for providing an exceptional model of how the private sector can contribute to the lives of our children and provide students with the opportunity to achieve, lead, and serve others in college. I would also like to congratulate these six students who have achieved so much academically and have been true leaders in their schools and communities."

The program is named in honor of retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, whose best-selling book, "The Greatest Generation," tells the story of the generation of men and women who transformed America after World War II. The scholarships seek to support students who demonstrate the values of the "Greatest Generation" - duty, courage, responsibility, and selfless service to community and world.

As part of the program, the GE Foundation will provide recipients with $15,000 per year for four years in college tuition. Additionally, the Foundation will provide $2,500 per year for four years to a service or leadership program with which the student works and support for the high school that the student attended.

Brokaw said, "I'm deeply grateful to the GE Foundation, the New York City Department of Education and its students for such an outstanding launch of The Greatest Generation Scholarships. We have a distinguished first class of recipients. I expect to hear much more from them in the future."

Corcoran said, "The 'Greatest Generation,' as Tom defined it, is made up of 'everyday heroes' who embodied the values that made our country strong. The Greatest Generation Scholars have demonstrated that same hard work and selfless dedication. We offer our congratulations to the scholars on all that they have accomplished and wish them the best of luck in their academic and life pursuits."

Kennedy said, "The Greatest Generation Scholarships are a tribute to the values that Tom Brokaw has shared with the country through his books and career. We are grateful to the GE Foundation for providing this opportunity for our City's public school students. I am confident these student scholars will go on to make great contributions in their colleges and communities."

The grant recipients are:

Olsi Argjendari, Fort Hamilton High School:

Olsi was born in Albania and arrived in New York to begin high school. He has distinguished himself as a scholar and a dedicated member of his community through service and leadership activities including translating for his church, volunteering in a local Councilman's office and tutoring students. He is an active member of his school newspaper, chess and volleyball teams. In September 2005, Olsi will attend New York University, where he will begin studies to become a doctor.

Leanna Jordan, DeWitt Clinton High School:

Leanna is an excellent student, a member of her school's Leadership Team, a class and school officer, a cheerleader and the captain of the girl's varsity tennis team. As a freshman participant in ACRES (American Civil Rights Education Services) she was inspired by the work of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and later became a student leader in the organization. Her community service involves serving the youth in her church as a teacher and role model. She also has served her neighborhood by participating in park clean-up events. Leanna will attend Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, to begin studies with the goal of gaining a graduate degree in law.

Kelly Maby, Richmond Hill High School:

Kelly served as a camp counselor at Camp Sunrise, a camp for the Differently-Abled. Her experiences there encouraged her to go out into society and fight for the rights of all. As a result, she is one of 20 students who will travel to South Africa this summer to investigate the legacy of apartheid and the current AIDS crisis in that nation. Over the past four years, she has donated her time and talent to help Special Olympians, veterans, and AIDS patients. Kelly will study at Wheaton College in the fall.

Heber Sanchez, Life Sciences Secondary School:

Originally from El Salvador, Heber immigrated to the United States where he excelled in his classes and dedicated himself to helping others in his school community. He serves as a role model for younger students, volunteering his time at The Door, a local non-profit providing youth development services. Heber will attend Cornell University pursuing a major in biology through the HEOP (Higher Education Opportunity Program) where he would like to study to become a doctor.

Tiffany Ward, High School of Legal Studies:

Tiffany is a Peer Educator, combating the problem of HIV/AIDS in her community. She serves on her student government, is a member of the Model U.N., and volunteers at the Center for Community Alternatives where her peer counseling work is centered. A student leader and activist, Tiffany will attend the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is interested in a career in law leading to politics and a seat in Congress with membership in the Congressional Black Caucus.

Xiao Min, Seward Park High School:

Xiao immigrated to New York from China at age 15. She was accepted to and excelled at a rigorous summer program at Yale University, studying speech and philosophy. She has been elected class president, maintains outstanding grades, and possesses a willingness to organize her classmates into giving back to the community in which they live through volunteerism. Xiao will attend Smith College in the fall where she hopes to begin her studies to become a neurosurgeon.


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