It was a nerve-racking walk Wednesday morning for Masterman High School students Spencer Dunleavy and Johana Barxa. The two juniors had received a call from their principal to report to the library. What they learned upon arrival would change their lives forever.
The students were selected to receive the Leonore Anneberg Scholarship worth $250,000 each for the college or University they chose to attend. Only five high school juniors nationwide are chosen. Both students say they’re overwhelmed.
“Lots of tears, a lot of relief,” said Johana. “I can’t believe this is happening right now.”
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“We both get this incredible opportunity and it’s just remarkable,” said Spencer.
Students are awarded the scholarship based on academic achievement, financial need, character and the potential to make a difference in the world.
“They usual have very good interpersonal skills, great compassion and just a great humanity about them,” said Gail Levin, Director of the Scholarship Fund.
Spencer hopes to go to Harvard and become an anesthesiologist.
“I just want to help people throughout my entire life,” said Spencer. “That’s why I want to become a doctor.”
Johana’s family moved to America from Albania to give her a better life. With the scholarship money, she says she’ll now be able to study biomedical engineering at a top university.
“I’m considering applying to MIT and the University of Pennsylvania,” said Johana.
Every scholar will be assigned a mentor who will follow and guide them through their remaining years of High School. They will also help them with critical decisions during their four years of College.
“Education is key,” said Levin. “This is the way we provide support for something that is so essential.”
“I’m just very overwhelmed and proud,” said Cindy Dunleavy, Spencer’s mother.
“This is all my life that I hoped for,” said Jonilda Barxa, Johana’s mother. “It’s everything, everything. Dreams come true here.”