In this issue: a student spotlight on Grace Lopez, an update on SEEDS' admissions season, and an overview of SEEDS' academic programs.
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November 2015
SEEDS' All Stars
SEEDS All Star Spotlight
Grace Lopez
Scholars '13 |
Friends Seminary School '17

Scholars graduate Grace Lopez is spending her junior year of high school abroad, studying in Italy. (Grace is pictured here in front of the Duomo in Florence.)

What are you studying this year in Italy?
I am taking classes in pre-calculus, English, and Latin, but being in Italy has given me the opportunity to take other courses like global citizenship, Italian language and culture, and Italian (of course). I would say that this experience gives students the ability to see the world independently and to truly experience travelling. Before I got to Italy, I did not know that simply observing the world around me would help me grow to become a curious adventurer. 

What has been your greatest experience in Italy so far? What are you looking forward to?
I have many joyful and wonderful memories to share, but I would say that experiencing the Duomo for the first time in my life was a highlight. As I walked up to the hundreds of pigeons crowding the piazza, I could see the mesmerizing Duomo from afar. It was a sunny day, so I could see each tall tower glistening from every angle. I was awestruck. I hope to travel across Europe, and in about two weeks, I will be travelling to Switzerland for a weekend with my two best friends! I am genuinely excited to try all the chocolate I can in Switzerland. 

Why did you want to apply to New Jersey SEEDS?
I remember sitting in my chair for hours in seventh grade, answering this same question over and over in my head. Only one answer came to mind. I wanted to be a part of a community that not only mentally challenged me, but would provide me with a sea of opportunities. Growing up in a small city and going to public school, I had no idea what beauties the outside world held. I did not know that in a year I would be commuting to New York City every day to go to high school, that I would spend my sixteenth birthday in New Orleans, and that I would spend my junior year in Italy. 

What was your experience with SEEDS like?
Throughout my journey with SEEDS, I learned one of the most valuable lessons in life: to never be afraid of chasing my dreams regardless of how impossible they may seem. Now that I look back, NJ SEEDS was the first step I took in achieving my dream of living in Europe. Inside the classroom with SEEDS, I was always surrounded by teachers who genuinely cared for me and those everlasting friends that unconditionally stood by me. 

What does NJ SEEDS mean to you?
Now that I can reflect on how I started and where I am now, I can clearly see that without NJ SEEDS, I would not have taken those baby steps I needed to succeed. When I was rolling out of my bed at 6:30 a.m. to get to the dining hall for 7:00 a.m. breakfast, I did not know that I would be doing the same to catch the 6:00 a.m. bus that stopped at Viterbo at exactly 7:25 AM. Just as I would make myself some Monday morning coffee at the cafeteria, I now order my daily cappuccino at San Sista Café. NJ SEEDS was not just an educational program for me, it was (and is) much more. SEEDS was a home I was lovingly welcomed into, where I was allowed to stumble and fall, where I was allowed to grow and learn at my own pace, and where I could get a glimpse of my future. A future full of challenges, joy, and happiness.  
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Friends of SEEDS Kicks Off New School Year

Friends of SEEDS is a committee of volunteers
whose activities support and enhance many of the social, cultural and academic experiences that NJ SEEDS makes available to our students. On October 20th, more than 20 Friends of SEEDS volunteers met at the Boxcar Bar and Grill to plan upcoming events for SEEDS students. Interested in becoming part of Friends of SEEDS? Contact Jamie McClintock to find out how you can get more involved. 
There's still time to apply for SEEDS' Scholars and Young Scholars Class of 2017!
SEEDS is looking for motivated, high-achieving students to be part of the Class of 2017. Seventh graders in New Jersey and fourth and fifth graders in the Greater Newark area are eligible to apply for SEEDS Scholars and Young Scholars Programs, respectively. If you know any top students who are looking for more educational opportunities, encourage them to request an application at' Early Decision Deadline is Friday, December 11. The Regular Decision Deadline is Friday, February 12. 

Interested in learning more? Visit SEEDS representatives at upcoming information sessions. To date, SEEDS has already hosted more than a dozen information sessions in 10 cities across the state to meet prospective students and their families.

Contact SEEDS' Admissions department with any additional questions, and best of luck to all candidates!
Congratulations to the 2015 Porges Award Winners!

Each year, the Leigh and Randy Porges Spirit Awards honor alumni who most exemplify the SEEDS mission of developing future leaders through educational opportunity. Selected students demonstrate proven academic excellence and leadership, as well as a strong commitment to improving his/her local or global communities. SEEDS is proud to present the Porges Award to three outstanding alumni this year:
  • Sabrina Hunte (YSP '10, Kent Place School '16) - With a strong academic record and demonstrated leadership in many community activities, Sabrina told SEEDS that “…I am most proud of my achievements as president of the Diversity Council and vice president of the Gay Straight Alliance.”
  • Jenee and Julia Potts (Scholars '12, Newark Collegiate Academy '16) - Both Jenee and Julia have strong academic records and spend much of their time volunteering at their school by running the school store, assisting in administering tests and grading for other students, as well as participating in other activities. In addition, both Jenee and Julia are invaluable resources for the library at their school.
Congratulations to this year's winners!
Program Recaps
Scholars and Young Scholars are continuing to prepare applications for selective school admission. As part of this process, students and their families each attended a Parent Financial Statement (PFS) workshop in November. Both Scholars and Young Scholars will take the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) on December 5 and Young Scholars will take the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) on December 12. Families should save the date for a Parents Meeting that will cover selective school placement on Wednesday, January 6. 

Over the next month, more than 900 applications will be submitted for Scholars and Young Scholars to selective day, boarding and junior boarding schools across the country. Special thanks to those schools that have hosted unique SEEDS events for potential students and families. On October 27, All Saints Episcopal Day School hosted several Young Scholars and families; The Pingry School invited nearly 20 Scholars and Young Scholars to their annual event on November 11.

College Preparatory Program (CPP) juniors headed to Barclays in New York City for an annual mock interview session. Thanks to the nearly 40 Barclays employees who interviewed students to help prepare them for college and internship interviews. Seniors are busy finishing up their college applications. On December 14 and 15, CPP juniors will attend a college tour with SEEDS, visiting several schools, including Skidmore College and Union College.

This year, SEEDS' 24 CPP seniors will submit more than 250 applications to colleges and universities across the country. To prepare for the college application process, CPP scholars continue to receive visits from college representatives during CPP Saturday Academy. Thanks to the representatives who have visited our students since October from the following institutions: Barnard CollegeBoston University, the College of Wooster,  Drew University, Hampshire College, Haverford College, Hollins College, Lafayette College, Northwestern University, Rhodes College, and Washington and Jefferson College.

There will be meetings for CPP parents on Tuesday, January 5 (Orange) and Thursday, January 7 (Trenton). Stay tuned for additional details. Saturday, January 9 will be the annual CPP Homecoming event. Contact Imani Gilliam for more information.
Prospective students for the first class of SEEDS' College Scholars Program submitted applications after having previously tested with SEEDS. More than 50 applications were completed for 20 spots in the Class of 2017. Finalists will be interviewed in late November, and selected students will be notified the week of December 8. Classes for College Scholars will begin in February. 

SEEDS' Guidance department is continuing visits to alumni in selective middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country.

Guidance held a fall college tour on Monday, November 23rd. More than two dozen students toured Haverford College and Princeton University. At Princeton, tour participants met with SEEDS alumni currently attending Princeton for a panel discussion about their college experiences. Upcoming Guidance events include:
  • Alumni Holiday Party: Friday, December 18 - Join New Jersey SEEDS for the annual Alumni Holiday Party from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Hilton – Newark Penn Station (1 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ). Tickets are $12. There will be dinner, dancing and other fun activities. Please RSVP before Friday, December 11. Reserve your space today! (This event is only open to alumni of New Jersey SEEDS.)
  • Financial Aid Workshop: Saturday, January, 9 - Guidance officers will host a financial aid workshop for high school students and their families as they prepare for college enrollment. Be on the lookout for additional information.
  • Spring College Tour: Details to follow - Guidance will host a five-day college tour in March for interested high school sophomores and juniors. Check your email for additional information.
Parents Committee Update

Members of the Parents Committee continue to support SEEDS through volunteer efforts. In addition to assisting with Admissions Information Sessions, alumni parents have volunteered at PFS workshops for current Scholars and Young Scholars during November. Looking to get more involved? Contact Jamie McClintock.

On November 13, members of SEEDS' Parents Committee gathered for the first meeting of the 2015 - 2016 school year. The Committee welcomed Fran Shalom, former New Jersey Art Fellowship Grant recipient, as a special guest. Fran led a discussion on "What is Art?" for parents in attendance.
New Jersey SEEDS Alumni Association

Thanks to Jose Miranda Jr. (Scholars '98) for hosting a Financial Literacy Workshop on Oct. 28 for alumni in the New York City area. 

Looking to get more involved in the Alumni Association? Join SEEDS for the Annual Alumni Holiday Party! This night of dinner and dancing with fellow SEEDS graduates will be held Friday, Dec. 18 at the Hilton-Newark Penn Station. Tickets can be purchased for $12. (This event is only open to alumni of SEEDS.)

Contact Patricia Rodrigues for more Alumni Association events in your area.
Sanofi/Aventis, Wells Fargo and Neuberger Berman Support SEEDS

Over the past several weeks, New Jersey SEEDS has received donations from two New Jersey companies – Sanofi/Aventis and Wells Fargo. In each instance corporate employees researched local nonprofits for funding and selected NJ SEEDS and our scholars. Both companies held events to recognize the work of NJ nonprofits and distribute much appreciated award checks. Thanks to Sanofi/Aventis and Wells Fargo for their support!

New Jersey SEEDS is proud to welcome Neuberger Berman as a new corporate partner. Neuberger Berman recently provided SEEDS with a $15,000 grant that will be used to review the Scholars Program curricula, make updates where necessary, assess effectiveness, and ensure appropriate teacher training. This is a necessary and important undertaking for SEEDS, because the ongoing success of the Scholars Program, to a great extent, is predicated on the strength of our summer and year-round math and English curricula.
Ahmad Raza (Scholars ’04) introduced SEEDS to Neuberger Berman, his employer, and played an instrumental role in the forging of this new corporate sponsorship. Thanks to Neuberger Berman and Ahmad for supporting SEEDS!
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