Three Dorchester students will attend Boston University as Menino Scholars this fall as members of the latest round of Boston Public high school graduates who will get a full-tuition scholarship to attend the university in the name of the late Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino.
On June 19, 26 newly minted high school graduates attended a special event on the BU campus to officially receive their scholarship awards. Boston University President Robert A. Brown spoke along with another featured guest, Sophia Dorsainvil-Johnson, a 2020 Menino Scholar, and Annissa Essaibi-George, an at-large Boston city councillor.
The Menino scholarships are four-year, full-tuition grants to select seniors from Boston’s public high schools. BU began offering them in 1973 as part its continuing commitment to the city of Boston and later renamed them after Boston’s longest-serving mayor.
Then, in 2009, BU expanded its opportunities for Boston Public School students by offering a new Community Service award whereby recipients receive university grants to fully fund their calculated financial eligibility without loans. That eligibility is the difference between a student’s annual educational costs and his or her expected family contribution.
This year, Boston University recognized 41 community service award winners, including 10 from Dorchester.
Anya Hershenson, who lives in the St. Mark’s area of Dorchester and recently graduated from Boston Latin School, says the Menino scholarship is “a really big accomplishment” because BU was her number one choice for college. “I’ve always wanted to stay in Boston,” the 18 year old said, “because my ultimate goal is to become a Boston public teacher.”
Andrew Huynh, 18, who lives in Neponset, also graduated from Boston Latin School and won a Menino scholarship. Receiving the award, he said, lifted a financial burden from his family.
“It’s kind of giving them hope so that they don’t have to pay for all of my college and they can pay on things that are equally important, but things that won’t burden them as much,” said Huynh, who is looking forward to pursuing a major in business and a minor in music.
In May, he said, “I received the privilege to sit in on a BU jazz band rehearsal and I got to talk to the band director. And so for next year I want to audition for their jazz band and I want to play the [baritone saxophone] in their band. My goal is to just play in the band and embrace music and then maybe do some photography on the side.”
In addition to Huynh and Hershenson, Huy Phan will attend BU as a Menino Scholar.
Throughout last week, the scholars went to a YMCA camp site in Connecticut and enjoyed bonding time by boating, hanging out by the lake, and engaging in other activities like rope courses to work on team building. Being far removed from the city was a completely new experience meant to bring them together as a group.
One of the community service award recipients, Cassandra Rose Berrette, 18, of Mattapan, said that going to BU was her top choice as she completed her studies at Boston Latin Academy.
“It was close by and I didn’t want to go too far away. Plus, it had my major … in neuroscience and finding colleges that have this major is kind of hard.”
The other Dorchester residents who received Community Service awards included: Debohra Dagnachew, Owen Murray, Angela Tran, Linh Tran, Liguya Brown, Naomi Caines, Bishop Edwards, Nhan Huynh, John Nagasawa and Linda Pham.