On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, Usman Ghani, a senior at High School of Economics and Finance in Manhattan, received the $10,000 Manuel H. and Claire Barron Student of the Year Scholarship Award to support his college dreams at the 2017 Junior Achievement of New York Leadership Awards Gala at Gotham Hall. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, a leading communications marketing firm and longtime partner of JA New York, was also honored with the 2017 Leadership Award for his contributions and dedication to Junior Achievement of New York.
More than 350 business leaders and professionals gathered at Gotham Hall in Manhattan to celebrate Mr. Ghani and Mr. Edelman and to raise funds to support the delivery of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness programs to more than 85,000 K-12 students in New York City, Long Island and Lower Hudson Valley. The evening's event raised $700,000 to support Junior Achievement programs.
The Manuel H. and Claire Barron Scholarship Fund is awarded each year to a high performing JA student in support of his/her post-secondary education. The Student of the Year Scholarship honoree distinguishes him/herself as an active and self-directed learner in Junior Achievement programs. Applicants go through a rigorous and competitive selection process to win the award. Successful candidates must exemplify the following qualifications and characteristics:
Be an exceptional model of a Junior Achievement scholar
Is enrolled in 12th grade during 2017-18 school year
Shows interest in developing entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy skills
Exhibits strong leadership skills and commitment to serving the community
Has a 3.0 GPA or greater
Usman aspires to become a financial consultant one day, and he has a deep interest in every aspect of business, as well as creative endeavors such as creative writing. At the gala, Usman stated, "JA has made it clear through a well-rounded curriculum that it is vital to educate the youth of America today about what their future can look like tomorrow. Junior Achievement has given me the opportunity to recognize that my future is in my own hands, and I am prepared."
Joseph A. Peri, President of JA New York, spoke about what made Usman stand out from his peers as a candidate for the Student of the Year scholarship award. "Usman is a remarkable young man and works hard every day to enhance his skill set in order to realize his future goal of a career in finance. We believe in Usman – in his intelligence, his integrity and his ambition – and know that he's well on his way to achieving his life goals. We can't wait to see what's in store for his future."
Upon receiving the Leadership Award, Mr. Edelman gave a passionate speech, which detailed his work at Edelman, a family company, and gave unique insight to the circumstances that brought his family to the United States.
All event proceeds are used to recruit, train and deploy business and community volunteer mentor resources to deliver JA programs in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness programs to high-need schools and community organizations in the New York City, Long Island and Lower Hudson Valley.
More about Usman, JA New York's 2017 Student of the Year Scholarship recipient:
"JA activities support our college and career readiness expectations as they bridge connections to real world experiences and professions" – Hazel Cruz, PS 83
-Junior Achievement Teacher
"I learned that running a business includes a lot of work! You have to know how to run it, how much to pay your employees and much more." – PS 83
-Junior Achievement Student
"Guess what? A volunteer from Junior Achievement came to my class! I learned that cities are places to live, eat, work and play." – Justin, PS 83
-Junior Achievement Student
"Junior Achievement has given me my blueprint for success in college and beyond. JA has allowed me to grow as a student, entrepreneur, and as a future college student." – Kaiyell Pettie
-Junior Achievement Alumnus
"JA volunteers give children tangible examples of the unlimited opportunities available to them."