For many high school seniors, graduation comes with relief, excitement, hope (and anxiety) about the future. And for eight Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) seniors who received the Falcon Pride Scholarship last night, they also have the knowledge that their community is behind them.
In May every year, CRLS seniors receive scholarships from the city and local donors to support their post-secondary goals. Among them is our Falcon Pride Scholarship, which provides $10,000 to each scholar over the course of four to six years. Funded by an ever-growing group of Cambridge residents, the program is especially designed to support college persistence by providing funds directly to students in the spring semesters to help them cover costs related to their post-secondary education.
Thanks to new major gifts and steadfast support from local donors, this year’s Falcon Pride cohort grew from five to eight scholars. Added over the past academic year, the three new $10,000 scholarships include a new Falcon Pride Enroot Scholarship established to support a student enrolled with Enroot, our nonprofit partner, and two more Falcon Pride Scholarships to assist deserving local youth to reach their academic dreams.
Announcing the Falcon Pride Enroot Scholarship
This May, Amreenbanu Gadatia was the first high school graduate to receive the inaugural Falcon Pride Enroot Scholarship, made possible by the generosity of Debbie and Abram Klein.
Enroot offers after-school programming for immigrant youth in Cambridge and Somerville, pairing them with a mentor from the community, exposing them to different organizations and careers in the community, supporting their English acquisition, and helping them develop a sense of belonging and confidence in their future. The new Falcon Pride Enroot Scholarship will offer a dedicated scholarship to one Enroot student each year, as a complement to Enroot’s College Success Program, which supports CRLS graduates for four years in their post-secondary pathways, including studies in college or entering the workforce.
For Debbie Klein, it’s an investment in students who are incredibly resilient, many of whom work hard to overcome a range of challenges in pursuit of their academic goals. “It makes a huge difference for kids to have support they can count on, emotionally, logistically, financially, throughout their college careers,” said Debbie, a longtime Cambridge resident and educator who serves on the Board of Enroot and Friends of CRLS. “By partnering with Enroot, CCF is adding that financial component to Enroot’s already strong arsenal of support.”
Rose Francois, Executive Director of Enroot, said scholarships like Falcon Pride can be gamechangers for students. “A lot of students are in precarious situations,” Rose said. “Sometimes they need to prioritize a paycheck over a degree; other times their first year in college is tough or they get an unexpected bill, and they have to take time off from school. We’re focusing on wrap-around services, getting students more support through coaching, and encouraging persistence for their college and career success. And this new scholarship is a part of that effort.”
The village behind Falcon Pride Scholars
Since its founding in 2017 by Cantabrigians Liz Keating, Andus Baker, and Rowan Murphy in partnership with CCF, the Falcon Pride Scholarship has steadily grown thanks to the tremendous generosity of over 75 community donors. As student debt continues to catch headlines, more donors are compelled to contribute to lessening that burden for our local scholars. Marla Felcher is one of them.
“So many young people have obstacles in their life that keep them from going to college and staying there, and one tiny event could completely change or halt their trajectory, simply because there isn’t enough of a financial safety net there,” said Marla. “Enroot provides a safety net. Falcon Pride is another layer of safety net. It’s a multiplicative effect—every time we add a layer of support, we increase the possibility that a student will succeed. We need a lot of programs working together. This scholarship is a great example.”
$10K makes a difference in more ways than one
For Hafeza Chowdhury, a microbiology major finishing her first year at University of Rochester, the scholarship offered additional help and a connection to home.
“This was the biggest scholarship I got and it’s helped me make ends meet – covering books and other costs,” Hafeza said. “It was really heartwarming to show my parents, who immigrated from Bangladesh, that their hard work paid off in some way. And when away at school, just knowing that back home there’s this community behind me, it’s really reassuring and motivates me to do the best that I can.”
We’re incredibly grateful to our Falcon Pride donor community for their ongoing support of the scholarship fund, and congratulations to all our 2023 Falcon Pride Scholars! Know that your hometown community is behind you all the way.
Join us in welcoming our newest Falcon Pride Scholars:
Yael Amare, Falcon Pride Bushner Breakthrough Scholar
Amreenbanu Gadatia, Falcon Pride Enroot Scholar
Antonio Maldera Vega
We wish you and all our Falcon Pride Scholars much success in achieving your goals!
To donate to the Falcon Pride Scholarship Fund, please click here.