Success Stories

Anthony Mason

Age 17
Niagara University
Full Scholarship

College access with Emilia has helped create a significant opportunity for myself, Anthony Mason, in which enabled me to take part in a greater educational experience through college. A higher education after high school wasnít always a thought of mind due to distractions built by the negativity of the streets. Unfortunate imprisonment produced a choice of either college or incarceration. Dealing with the consequences of my actions was inevitable but whether the repercussions would positively or negatively impact my future was a choice I had to make.

I always had knowledge of Emilia and her programís existence but I failed to use it as a resource. I usually had an equal balance between going to school and playing with the streets so I never felt the college access program of Emilia served me purpose. In early September 2010, I was locked up for possession of a concealed deadly weapon in the 2nd degree which transited me into an example of judicial penalty. As a result, the judge created unusual circumstance which enabled me to avoid sentencing if I was able to get acceptance into a four-year college. This is the very instance where Emiliaís college program gained extreme importance in my life.

Though due to poor grades, the initial concept of being accepted to a four-year college seemed horrifically slim, but thanks to the advisors in Emiliaís program, I was given the chance to take the SAT exam. I scored a 1500 and with the help of the youth working with Emilia by way of being mentors with my personal statement and college applications, I managed to get into 3 community colleges including Kingsborough, LaGuardia, and BMCC and I gained acceptances to 2 four-year colleges, SUNY Canton and Niagara University. As of now I am committed to Niagara University on a 4 year full scholarship and I am on the route to a successful future in the field of psychology. Emiliaís program and her youth helped me make a complete transition from a negative and unpromising future into a positive, educated, lawful future. I am Anthony Mason and a college access program of Emiliaís saved my life. holds a BA from Wesleyan University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Communication, Design and Technology from The Parsons New School of Design.

Reyneil Estrella

Age 18
Currently attending California College of Art

Going away for college, is a decision many students analyze more than twice. For me, it took great courage, motivation, and determination to make such a decision. I decided that I wanted to make art, to be an artist and with my mind set on that goal, I started my own research on every art school I could possibly find. My interest was all over schools located in New York, but ultimately California College of the Arts, in California, was the school I secretly fell in love with. People did told me I was striving for a far dream, but if there is something I have learned is that; if you can dream it, you can make it possible. I did everything to get to my school. I wanted to visit it, so I started selling sandwiches in school (yes, sandwiches) every day until I could afford a plane ticket to visit my dream school.

I had already sent my application by the time I stopped selling sandwiches and thanks to my teachers, especially Ms. Stewart, I had the guidance necessary to make every step count. I made countless mistakes while applying for FASFA but Ms. Stewart always saved my butt from completing the form inaccurate, unfinished, or unclear. In the same way, Angela Stewart, my senior counselor, untiringly reminded me of deadlines and how can I not thank her for sending my envelopes? I felt like I was the only senior grateful for having someone who could do that for me. Seriously, thank you Stewart. It was a long process but nevertheless a rewarding one because when I got my acceptance letter, I did not have words to describe the feeling of having a dream, a passion for something and actually achieving it. And by achieving, Iím not referencing luck but actual effort, determination, and hard work.

Today I attend California College of the Art, working towards a Bachelorís of Fine Arts in the field of Graphic Design and today my motivation and passion reach higher than before as I meet professors, students, and staff who inspire me to keep following the amazing path I took. Today Iím a college student who has noticed the great transition from high school to college and the great effort I constantly put on everything I do here. Now every college application step with Ms. Stewart has given me the confidence in order for me to succeed every day, in every classroom.