These High School Seniors are the Future of Connecticut—and the World

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A cheerful gathering of more than 100 people filled the Judiciary Room at the Connecticut State Capitol on Thursday as Comcast awarded $1,000 scholarships to 44 high school seniors, who came from all over the state, through the Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program.

Comcast awarded a total of $53,000 in scholarships to students in Connecticut based on each student’s personal recommendations, academic achievements and efforts to improve their communities. After all, the program is meant to demonstrate the value of volunteerism and the importance the business community places on those efforts.

Several Comcast officials, state senators and state representatives attended the event to congratulate the recipients and wish them well as they begin their experiences with higher education.

Michael Parker, senior vice president of Comcast’s Western New England Region, urged the students to continue working as stewards of their communities.

“Our Leaders and Achievers Scholarship winners exemplify leadership and are committed to academic excellence and community service,” Parker said. “We are honored to recognize their achievements, and excited to support them as they continue their educational journeys.”

Marrero receives her $9,000 scholarship (Photo by the author)

Marrero receives her $9,000 scholarship (Photo by the author)

At the end of the event, Natasha Marrero of New Britain High School rose in excitement when a surprise announcement revealed she would receive an additional $9,000 through the Comcast Founders Scholarship. The scholarship was created in honor of Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Comcast Corporation.

State Senator Terry Gerratana—representing New Britain—congratulated Marrero for her hard work and for proudly representing the community. Gerratana also reminded the other students about the many ways in which they can impose change in their communities.

“Leadership comes in different forms. From hard work in the classroom to active service in the community, these students have demonstrated incredible attributes for all of us to applaud and celebrate,” she said.

“Thank you to the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Program for recognizing these young role models and emphasizing the importance of civic involvement and service,” said Gerratana.

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Eight students with ties to New Haven received scholarships through the program—more than any other city or town. The seniors included:

  • Dante Frazer of Cooperative Arts And Humanities Magnet High School
  • Brian Henderson of New Haven Academy
  • Josie Hill of Hill Regional Career High School
  • Jennifer Nguyen of High School In The Community
  • Nathaniel Nguyen of Hopkins School
  • Anna-Allegra Ranelli of Wilbur Cross High School
  • Judith Suffrard, a New Haven resident who attends Sacred Heart Academy
  • Tyriq Woodson of James Hillhouse High School

Founded in 2000, the Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program has awarded more than $25 million to about 25,000 students across the country, with $660,000 in scholarships given to more than 580 Connecticut students since 2002. This year, Comcast will award more than $2 million in scholarships nationwide to more than 2,000 students.

The scholarship program is included under the Comcast Foundation, established in June 1999. Since then, Comcast has donated more than $195 million nationwide under the mission of supporting communities who are focused on expanding digital literacy, promoting civic engagement and supporting future leaders.

Who’s to say what these admirable leaders and achievers will do next in their educational and professional careers? We don’t know yet, but we’re sure excited to find out.

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