In this issue: College Scholars Program launches, an overview on admissions for the Class of 2017 and a programs update.
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January 2016
SEEDS' All Stars
SEEDS All Star Spotlight
Angel Castillo
College Scholars '17

Angel is one of the members of SEEDS' first class of College Scholars. A junior at John E. Dwyer Technology Academy in Elizabeth, Angel is a member of the National Honor Society, the Environmental Club and Tech Club. He plays the drums at his church, and recently joined the high school band. He is an avid tutor and tennis player.

Why did you want to apply to the College Scholars Program?
I wanted to apply because I saw an incredible opportunity for low-income students. I realized that NJ SEEDS truly cares about the future of those who want to succeed in life. That's what made me interested in the organization.

What are you most looking forward to during your 17 months with SEEDS? What do you hope to learn as a College Scholar?
I am looking forward to new experiences that will enhance my academic skills, will help me network, and will give me the opportunity to get into one of the best colleges in the country. I hope to learn the skills that will help me achieve success in my academic life, as well as my personal life. I hope to learn the skills that will allow me to overcome my weaknesses and achieve success.
What are your goals for the future? 
I want to get into a good college and get my Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. Then, I would like to get my M.B.A.

How do you think SEEDS can help you reach these goals?
SEEDS will be a stepping stone in enhancing my education. With the help of SEEDS, I will be able to attend one of the best colleges in the country. Since SEEDS will prepare me with academic and life skills, I will be able to further my education to reach my goals. I strongly believe SEEDS will be an essential part of my route to success.
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Parents Committee Updates

The SEEDS Parents Committee will hold its next meeting on Friday, February 19. Parent volunteers continue to support SEEDS throughout admissions season or by volunteering in the office. Since October, parents have already spent 55 hours volunteering on behalf of SEEDS.
Special Thanks

New Jersey SEEDS would like to warmly thank those that have assisted the organization during the holiday season: Dick's Sporting Goods (Union), Evangel Church (Scotch Plains), Friends of SEEDS, Jack & Jill Youth Chapter - Essex/Hudson, and the Rock Spring Women's Association.

SEEDS would also like to thank The Pingry School and the Synagogue Community Wide Service Event in Millburn for hosting SEEDS projects at their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service events.
Upcoming Alumni Association Events

Looking to get more involved in SEEDS' Alumni Association? The Association will host several upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Celebrate SEEDS: Join the Alumni Association on Thursday, February 25 at Markers Restaurant in Jersey City. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Alumni Panels at Scholars Academy Saturdays: Volunteer with fellow alumni and share your experiences with current eighth-graders in the Scholars Program from 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. RSVP to Patricia Rodrigues by Friday, January 29. Brown Bag Lunch Series with Young Scholars: SEEDS is looking for volunteers to connect with current fifth- and sixth-graders in the Young Scholars Program. Sessions will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Newark Academy (Livingston). Please RSVP to Patricia Rodrigues.
  • Saturday, January 30: "Not Over Yet"
  • Saturday, February 27: Gender Relations
  • Saturday, March 12: Independent School - Insider's Scoop
  • Saturday, April 9: Living in Two Worlds - Code Switching
SEEDS' Newest Program to Begin Classes Feb. 6
On Saturday, February 6, SEEDS will hold the first day of classes at Drew University for its newest academic program - the College Scholars Program. Announced last April, College Scholars is a 17-month program that will create access to and promote graduation from selective colleges for public high school students throughout New Jersey.

The first class of College Scholars is comprised of 22 exceptionally high-achieving students with excellent grades and strong motivation to succeed. The students live within 25 miles of Newark, and all were nominated by their Guidance Counselors as strong candidates for SEEDS. Following their nomination, students tested with SEEDS and select students were then invited to complete an application. Finalists and their parents were interviewed before final decisions were made.

College Scholars will attend an orientation with their families on February 4 where they will be introduced to SEEDS and the curriculum for their first semester. Beginning on February 6, students will hit the ground running, taking their first practice ACT. The next week, College Scholars will head off on a two-day college tour to the Philadelphia region. 

College Scholars will spend more than 400 hours with SEEDS, taking Saturday classes during their junior spring semester in high school, a three-week residential summer session before their senior year, and in classes that resume each Saturday during their senior year. Throughout their time with SEEDS, students will be exposed to a curriculum that enhances their writing abilities, hones their critical thinking skills, creates awareness of college access and the different types of college options available, and provides a detailed understanding of the financial aid process.

Stay tuned to eSeedlings for more updates on SEEDS' first class of College Scholars in our next issue.
There's Still Time to Apply for SEEDS' Scholars and Young Scholars Programs!

Know a high-achieving 4th, 5th or 7th grader? There is still time for students to apply to NJ SEEDS for the Class of 2017. Students who meet SEEDS' eligibility requirements have until Friday, February 12 to complete an online application. (Interested in learning more? Sign up to attend an information session in your area.) Selected students and their families will be invited to interview with SEEDS on March 5 or March 12; testing will take place on March 19.

More than 150 students completed applications for SEEDS' Early Decision deadline in December, and nearly 70 potential Scholars and Young Scholars were invited to interview and test with SEEDS earlier this month. Best of luck to all candidates as they await SEEDS' decisions!
Program Recaps
Young Scholars returned to class on January 9 to kick off their second semester of Saturday classes with SEEDS. In the coming month, Young Scholars will participate in the first of the annual Brown Bag Lunch Series; "Not Over Yet," a motivational session to encourage students to continue to work hard and finish the program strong, will be held on January 23. A second session, "Gender Relations" will be hosted on February 27. Young Scholars will also begin a concentrated program in the arts, working with the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, on January 30.

Scholars from all three sites joined together at The Pingry School for the first session of 2016. In addition to academic classes, students participated in a morning motivational session with SEEDS staff.

Scholars and Young Scholars are awaiting decisions from selective schools across the country. In December, students completed the application process, with 117 scholars sending nearly 1,000 applications to some 130 schools in 19 states. On January 6, SEEDS' Placement team met with Scholars, Young Scholars and their families to discuss the next steps in selecting the right school with the right financial aid package. Best of luck to students awaiting decisions!

College Preparatory Program (CPP) seniors have applied to 140 colleges and universities, and have already received 35 early acceptances from institutions that include Colorado College, Rutgers University, Washington & Jefferson College, and Washington University in St. Louis. Parents met with SEEDS staff to discuss the college application process on January 5 and January 7. Students will continue to prepare for college admissions by attending a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) workshop with their families on January 30 at NJIT. CPP seniors also took part in a two-day college tour in December, visiting Drew University, Caldwell University, Skidmore College and Union College (view photos).

On Saturday, January 9, CPP alumni met with current CPP scholars to sit on a panel discussing their SEEDS and college experiences (view photos). 
Thanks to Nordia Bennett (CPP '13, Denison University '17), Angeline Cazeau (CPP '11, Temple University '15), Barakat Olusekan (CPP '15, Rowan University '19), Sulamit Quezada (CPP '13, Albright College '17), Eddy Torres (CPP '13, Lehigh University '17), and Teshawn Warren (CPP '12, Rutgers University '16) for advising students.
SEEDS' Guidance department hosted a financial aid workshop on Saturday, January 9. Several families of high school seniors attended for tips on completing FAFSA forms and CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profiles. Families received individualized assistance from SEEDS staff members, as well as tips and advice from H&R Block and Rutgers University Financial Aid professionals.

In March, Guidance will host a college tour for alumni high school sophomores and juniors from Monday, March 14 through Friday, March 18. The tour will make visits to: Allegheny University, Carnegie Mellon University, Denison University, Dickinson College, Juniata College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, and Washington and Jefferson University. Tickets can be purchased online.

In addition, SEEDS Scholars and Young Scholars graduates have already received Early Decision acceptances to colleges across the country, including: Johns Hopkins UniversityPrinceton University, Skidmore College, Stevens Institute of Technology and Swarthmore College.

The Guidance team and the Alumni Association hosted the Alumni Holiday Party on Friday, December 18. Nearly 150 graduates came out to catch up with friends and network with fellow alumni. View photos from the evening.
Intern with ADP this Summer

For the past two years, New Jersey SEEDS has been proud to partner with ADP to develop a robust internship program for SEEDS alumni. The seven-week, paid experience rotates students through ADP’s different departments, giving students exposure on how a global company operates and helping students gain a better understanding of potential careers available to them.

This summer leadership development program is open to SEEDS alumni who are rising seniors in high school or SEEDS alumni who are in college. The internship will take place at ADP Headquarters in Roseland, New Jersey (transportation will be provided).

During this internship, students will learn about technology, finance, marketing, human resources, and personal development. Students will engage in challenging work that allows them to apply new skills, learn to work in teams, and improve their leadership skills. Throughout their time at ADP, students will be provided constant mentorship and guidance to foster personal and professional growth.

If you are interested in applying for the ADP internship through New Jersey SEEDS for this coming summer, please contact Johulin Zuluaga, Guidance Officer, at by Tuesday, March 15.
NJ SEEDS Receives $100,000 from The Heckscher Foundation

NJ SEEDS is the proud recipient of a $100,000 grant from The Heckscher Foundation for Children. Founded in 1921 to promote the welfare of children in New York and throughout the United States, the primary aim of the Foundation’s grantmaking today is to “level the playing field” for underserved youth by providing access to education and the varied experiences that make for a richer, forward-reaching life.

Impressed by NJ SEEDS’ immediate outcomes for students, as well as the long-term college success of the organization's graduates, The Heckscher Foundation’s very generous grant was made in support of the Scholars Program. Throughout the application process, SEEDS was assisted by Angie Ramirez (Scholars '04, The Pingry School '08, Yale University '12). Angie’s educational and career trajectory – an associate at SeaChange Capital Partners and a current Heckscher Fellow – perfectly illustrates the individual success stories of SEEDS scholars that captured the attention of The Heckscher Foundation for Children.

Thanks to The Heckscher Foundation and Angie
Ramirez for their support of NJ SEEDS!
Considering having your taxes prepared by H&R Block? Bring the below referral with you, and as a new client, H&R Block will donate $20 to NJ SEEDS!
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