Chris – now 18 and a senior at Lindenwold High School in New Jersey – expresses gratitude toward teachers from as far back as kindergarten for the guidance and attention he believes greatly impacted his growth and development. And there is no doubt in his mind that without his involvement in the theater and performing arts – such as singing in the All South Jersey Chorus or participation in school plays – he would be a much different person.
“The arts have transformed me into a team player, an accepting individual and someone who longs to work hard for an ultimate goal,” said Chris.
Chris’s passion for serving his community has not gone unnoticed. Last summer, Chris earned a coveted spot in the St. Albans School of Public Service program in Washington, D.C. to explore government, politics and public service. In January, Chris also learned he had won a $1,000 Leaders and Achievers Scholarship from the Comcast Corporation Foundation after garnering a nomination from his guidance counselor.
The annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program recognizes students who serve as role models for their fellow students and work for positive change in their communities and schools. Students, nominated by their high school principal or counselor, must be a senior at a high school in a Comcast Community, possess a minimum grade point average of 2.8 and demonstrate leadership ability and a strong commitment to community service involvement to be eligible. Since 2001, the Leaders and Achievers program has awarded more than $13 million in scholarships.
“I make it a priority of mine to serve others, while maintaining my interests and goals, and I think that is appealing to those who award scholarships,” said Chris. “The world looks for young individuals who use their intelligence and talents to help others and I strive to be that sort of individual.”
Last month, Chris also received the first Cappies Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Scholarship. This $1,000 award honors the memory of Casey Feldman, a Fordham University student killed by a distracted driver in 2009.
“I felt honored that the parents of the young lady found me to be a worthy student and that they saw that my sole goal in life is to simply make a difference,” said Chris.
Chris plans to study Secondary Education and Musical Theater when he heads to Rutgers University – New Brunswick in the fall, but in the future he hopes to work on improving education systems.
“My teachers have given me so much and I know that I have to give just as much to the generations to come,” said Chris. “What better way to give back to the world than to teach!”